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Modified 1-Jul-22
Created 25-Feb-18
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On January 31, 2018 there was a rare event known as a "Super Blue Blood Moon". That sounds odd to some folks so here is what it means.
A "Super" moon is when the moon is full (or new) and reaches its' closest approach to Earth in its elliptical orbit. This has the effect of making the moon look slightly larger, up to 14% and since it is closer, the luminosity may appear brighter, though that is simply because it is closer in distance, not that there is more light hitting the moon.
A "Blue" moon is the 2nd full moon of the same month. This is a somewhat rare event and a commonly used term "Once in a blue moon", infers 'in a long time'. The moon isn't normally blue in color with what most folks think when hearing this term, but in past history with volcano eruptions or large forest fires, the smoke in the atmosphere has been know to make the moon appear a bluish color, so there is some truth to "blue" moon!
A "Blood" moon is the phrase used for when total lunar eclipse occurs and during the eclipse, because of the light being blocked by Earth, the moon will appear red in color. Sometimes it may have an orange color hint also.
So when I heard that the combination of these 3 things were occurring in the early morning hours of January 31, 2018, I planned my photography shoot here in my home town of Pierre, SD and to include our State Capitol building as part of the shoot. The only thing that could stop me was clouds in the sky! The forecast the night before showed 'partly cloudy' and if you live in South Dakota that can mean a think layer of clouds over the whole sky, or a few puffy clouds floating by in the sky. Thankfully the clouds moved out by morning and it was a perfectly clear sky to watch this once in a lifetime event!
The Penumbral stage of the eclipse started at 4:51am and the temperature was right at 20 degrees (f) and as sunrise approached, it dropped to around 17 degrees, but thankfully there was no wind. The Partial eclipse stage began at 5:48am and this is where the moon may begin to turn a reddish color. The Total eclipse state began at 6:51am and this is where the moon is 100% in the Earth's shadow and will be the reddest color. Since the sunrise was at 8:01am, I would not be able to see the second half of the eclipse. But this didn't lessen my excitement any. I was setup at location by 5:00am and began taking a few photos and moving around somewhat to get different angles.
This gallery contains different photos throughout the stages of the eclipse I was able to see and shoot into the morning twilight as the moon eventually disappeared behind the horizon while still in the total eclipse stage. I hope you enjoy viewing these and if you missed the eclipse, these photos will give you a sense of what occurred.
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