By Ryan Woo
BEIJING (Reuters) – Millions of people across the Chinese capital were treated to a “super blood blue moon” eclipse on a cold but clear night on Wednesday, a phenomenon not seen since the late Qing dynasty more than 150 years ago.
The eclipse coincided with a so-called blue moon – or the second full moon in a calendar month – and a super moon, when the moon is at, or near, its closest to Earth.
About 400 super-keen skywatchers dressed in thick coats queued patiently outside the Beijing Planetarium to peer into eight telescopes mounted on tripods.
Beijing was among a number of locations in the country and on the Pacific Rim that will witness the total lunar eclipse.
The entire passage will take more than three hours, during which the moon will turn a coppery red as sunlight going through Earth’s atmosphere bounces off its surface.
Skywatchers across western North America set their alarms to wake before dawn on Wednesday, with hundreds expected to view the phenomenon from a Los Angeles mountaintop..
The rare eclipse was also visible in Australia, Japan and Southeast Asia.
The “lunar trifecta”, as it is described by NASA, last took place in the Western hemisphere on March 31, 1866, when the second dome of the United States Capitol had just been completed and H.G. Wells, author of “The Time Machine”, was born.
(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Additional reporting by Joyce Zhou in BEIJING; Editing by Darren Schuettler and Nick Macfie)