LOS ANGELES (CBSNewYork/AP) — Stargazers late Sunday got a double celestial treat when a total lunar eclipse combined with a so-called supermoon.
Those in the United States, Europe, Africa and western Asia were able to view the rare coupling late Sunday and early Monday.
It was the first time the events have made a twin appearance since 1982, and they won’t again until 2033.
When a full moon makes its closest approach to Earth, it appeared bigger and brighter than usual and is known as a supermoon.
It coincided Sunday night with a full lunar eclipse where the moon, Earth and sun will be lined up, with Earth’s shadow totally obscuring the moon.
The event peaked on the U.S. East Coast at 10:11 p.m., and lasted about an hour.
In Europe, the action unfolded before dawn Monday.
NASA planetary scientist Noah Petro was hoping the celestial event would ignite more interest in the moon. He is deputy project for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, which has been studying the moon from lunar orbit since 2009.
“The moon’s a dynamic place,” Petro said Wednesday. “We’re seeing changes on the surface of the moon from LRO. We’re seeing that it’s not this static dead body in the sky … it’s this great astronomical object that we have in our backyard, essentially. So people should get out and start looking at it.”
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