Latest: The moon bathed in blood-red light of a total eclipse - the Blood Moon - lit up the early morning sky, if only briefly.
Heavy fog across parts of Dubai then made it next to impossible to see the Blood Moon with the naked eye.
In fact, the fog grew so heavy that even the street lights could not be seen.
5:17am - the Super Blood Moon as captured by enthusiasts this morning in Dubai. (Eudore Chand)
5:24am - This Blood Moon is also a supermoon, therefore, creating the effect of a rare Super Blood Moon lunar eclipse.
5:27 am - Blood Moon
By 5: 37 am, the moon was really red
By 5:48am the moon was just about disappearing as heavy fog and dawn rolled in
A few minutes later the spectacle was over.
What do you get when you cross a full moon with a lunar eclipse? Ardent skywatchers will know the answer to that tonight.
A moon bathed in blood-red light of a total eclipse is called Blood Moon, but tonight is much more special. We’ll have the super blood moon – which is a rare phenomenon as there have been but five super blood moons since 1900 (in 1910, 1928, 1946, 1964 and 1982).
A full moon at its closest approach to the earth (the perigee) is called supermoon because it appears to be up to 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than the normal moon.
When the moon is at perigee (closest to earth), there is much more gravitational pull that contributes to higher tides and greater variation in the high and low tide.
Combine that supermoon with a total lunar eclipse, and you have the rare super blood moon eclipse. (Scroll down to know why the moon appears blood-shot during an eclipse.)
After tonight, the next supermoon eclipse will occur only in 2033.
The rare celestial show will be playing tonight on the world’s biggest screen – the night sky.
Tonight (early tomorrow morning in Dubai), the sun, earth and a larger-than-life, extra-bright moon will line up for about an hour, resulting in an extraordinary treat for skywatchers.
Tonight’s 'blood moon' will be the last in a string of four total lunar eclipses (but not supermoon eclipses) since April 15, 2014, in a series astronomers call a tetrad (when four total lunar eclipses happen in a row, six months apart).
The first three total eclipses in the current lunar tetrad occurred on April 15, 2014, October 8, 2014, and April 4, 2015. Tonight will be the last eclipse of the tetrad.
And while the show will be best viewed from the Americas, Europe, Africa, west Asia and the east Pacific, for us in the UAE it will be a touch-and-go scenario.
According to 'TimeAndDate.com', even as the ‘total’ phase of this lunar eclipse won’t be visible in Dubai, it can still be observed here as a partial lunar eclipse.
During the eclipse (between 5.07am and 6.09am UAE time), the earth’s shadow will be covering a large portion of the moon, so it’ll still be a ‘nice’ sight although it won’t be nearly as nice a view as what people in the Americas, Europe and Africa will be able to witness.
According to Nasa, at perigee, the moon is about 31,000 miles closer to earth than at apogee (farthest point). So, tonight, for the first time in more than 30 years, one can witness a supermoon in combination with a lunar eclipse.
And don’t lose heart if you think that the ‘partial’ eclipse isn’t good enough for you – Nasa will have a live stream from 5am until 7.30am UAE time (8pm until 11:30pm EDT) from its Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville, Alaska, with a live feed from the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, California.
In addition, for those who really wish to get to know all about the eclipse, Mitzi Adams, a Nasa solar physicist at Marshall will discuss the eclipse and answer questions from Twitter. To ask a question, use the #askNasa hashtag.
Why does the moon appear red during the eclipse?
This is how Nasa explains this: The moon does not make its own light; it reflects light it receives from the sun. During a lunar eclipse, the moon appears less and less bright as sunlight is blocked by the earth’s shadow. As totality approaches, sunlight reaches the moon indirectly and is refracted around the ‘edges’ of earth, through earth’s atmosphere.
Because of this, almost all colours except red are ‘filtered’ out, and the eclipsed moon appears reddish or dark brown. This filtering is caused by particulates in our atmosphere; when there have been a lot of fires and/or volcanic eruptions, lunar eclipses will appear darker and redder. This eerie – but harmless – effect has earned the phenomenon the nickname ‘blood moon.’
A reminder: if you miss this event, you’ll have to wait 18 years – the next super blood moon eclipse will occur in 2033.