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'Blood moon' rises above Northern Ireland

Published 28/09/2015

The Super blood moon over the Mourne Mountains, Co Down: Pic: Stephen Campbell, freelance Journalist
The Super blood moon over the Mourne Mountains, Co Down: Pic: Stephen Campbell, freelance JournalistThe Super blood moon over the Mourne Mountains, Co Down: Pic: Stephen Campbell, freelance Journalist
The blood moon in Coleraine. Picture: Les Magee
The 'blood moon' captured in Ballyclare. Picture: Geoff McMaw
The 'blood moon' captured in Ballyclare. Picture: Geoff McMaw
The 'blood moon' taken at Scrabo Tower in Newtownards. Pic: Alan Heaney, Belfast
The 'blood moon' taken at Scrabo Tower in Newtownards. Pic: Alan Heaney, Belfast
The 'blood moon' taken at Scrabo Tower in Newtownards. Pic: Alan Heaney, Belfast
Martin Campbell from Dungannon, captured the moon.
Alan Montague took these pictures at around 3.45am from his south Belfast home.
Alan Montague took these pictures at around 3.45am from his south Belfast home.
Rosie Cartmill captured the moon over Banbridge.
Alan Montague took these pictures at around 3.45am from his south Belfast home.

Stargazers across Northern Ireland were treated to an astronomical treat for the first blood red 'supermoon' to be seen for more than 30 years.

Combined with the largest Full Moon of the year and a Harvest Moon, the lunar eclipse turned the skies blood red.

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The eerie light created from a lunar eclipse with the moon near to its closest point to the Earth delighted amateur astronomers and photographers, while filling others with dread.

During a lunar eclipse, the moon turns a deep rusty red, due to sunlight being scattered by the Earth's atmosphere.

Some religious groups and believers in astrology were convinced it is a sign that the End of Days is approaching.

Through the ages, so-called "blood moons" have been viewed as ill omens by superstitious people.

The spectacle began to unfold from 1.10am in the UK, with the "total" phase - when the moon is completely in shadow - lasting from 3.11am to 4.24am. It was to go on until the moon emerged from the Earth's shadow at 6.24am.

When the moon is at perigee, its shortest distance from the Earth, it is 226,000 miles away and appears 14% larger and 30% brighter than when it is at its furthermost point.

The last time this coincided with a lunar eclipse, when the moon is covered by the Earth's shadow, was in 1982 and the event will not be repeated until 2033.

Unlike with a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is completely safe to observe through binoculars or a small telescope.

Many believe this eclipse was significant as it marks the completion of an unusual line-up of four total eclipses at six-monthly intervals known as a "tetrad".

Texan pastor and author John Hagee says this has only happened three times in the past 500 years and claimed it is likely to herald a "hugely significant" world event.

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