Super blue blood moon awes and wows
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The moon put on a rare cosmic show just before sunrise in the suburbs on Wednesday: a red blue moon, super big and super bright.
It's the first time in 35 years a blue moon has synced up with a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse, the latter also called a blood moon because of its red hue.
While the phases could be seen in the suburbs between cloud cover, Hawaii and Alaska had the best seats, along with the Canadian Yukon, Australia and Asia. The western U.S. also had good viewing, along with Russia.
In the suburbs, moon gazers from the Naperville Astronomical Association gathered with cameras and telescopes in Naperville at Greene Valley Forest Preserve to see the event.
The second full moon in a calendar month is a blue moon. This one also happened to be an especially close and bright moon, or supermoon.
NASA called it a lunar trifecta: the first super blue blood moon since 1982. That combination won't happen again until 2037.
At the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, hundreds gathered on the lawn in the wee hours under clear skies. Traffic was backed up more than a mile around the observatory. Sky-gazers also lined the beach near the Santa Monica Pier, some snapping photos and others reclining in the sand, their faces turned upward.
John Cook joined fellow photography enthusiasts at the pier, using the Ferris wheel and roller coaster for his foreground.
"It was incredible," said Cook, a visual effects artist for films. Photographers also gathered at the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, striving to get the famous Coit Tower in their moon shots.
In San Francisco's Marina district, a crowd gathered to watch the super blue blood moon, as NASA calls it, set over the Golden Gate Bridge. Spectators got lucky: There were clear skies and no trace of the city's famous fog.
"It's very cinematic, the way the moon is changing colors and reflecting on the water," said Clara Cambon, who arrived around 5:30 a.m. with her husband.
On the other side of the Pacific, where it was already nightfall, hundreds descended on the Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioicho complex, where telescopes and binoculars were plentiful. A TV monitor showed zoom-in views of the moon, and a university professor gave a rundown as the eclipse unfolded.
The U.S. East Coast, Europe and most of South America and Africa were out of luck for the total eclipse. At Cape Canaveral, Florida, where a rocket delivered America's first satellite to orbit exactly 60 years ago -- Explorer 1 -- the blue super moon loomed large in the sky.
For those looking ahead, the next supermoon is in February, the next blue moon is in March and the next total lunar eclipse is in July, according to NASA.
A total lunar eclipse -- considered the most scientific of Wednesday's threesome -- occurs when the sun, Earth and moon line up perfectly, casting Earth's shadow on the moon.