WASHINGTON: Skygazers were treated to a rare astronomical event Monday when a swollen "supermoon" and lunar eclipse combined for the first time in decades, showing Earth's satellite bathed in blood-red light.

The celestial show, visible from the Americas, Europe, Africa, west Asia and the east Pacific, was the result of the sun, Earth and a larger-than-life, extra-bright moon lining up for just over an hour.

Images from France, Germany, Argentina and the United States, among others, capture the progression of the lunar eclipse to a striking red finale.

The event also led to speculation about an impending apocalypse among certain followers of the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The fears are believed to have been stoked by a statement from Mormon author Julie Rowe, who regularly speaks to audiences about upcoming worldwide calamities.

Church officials were forced to issue a statement warning against panic, saying that while members should be "spiritually and physically prepared for life's ups and downs" they should avoid "being caught up in extreme efforts to anticipate catastrophic events."

The "blood moon" — which so far has had no apocalyptic consequences — appeared in stages across the planet as the satellite reached its closest orbital point to Earth, called perigee, while in its brightest phase.

A so-called "blood moon" can be seen during a total lunar eclipse in Essen, western Germany. — AFP
A so-called "blood moon" can be seen during a total lunar eclipse in Essen, western Germany. — AFP

The resulting "supermoon" appeared 30 per cent brighter and 14 per cent larger than when at apogee, the farthest point — which is about 31,000 miles from perigee.

Unusually, the Earth took position in a straight line between the moon and the sun, blotting out the direct sunlight that normally makes our satellite glow whitish-yellow.

But some light still crept around the planet's edges and was filtered through its atmosphere, casting an eerie red light that creates the blood moon. For people younger than 33, this was their first-ever chance to see a "super blood moon."

The last, only the fifth recorded since 1900, was in 1982, according to the NASA space agency, and the next will not be until 2033.

On top of the wow factor, the event was also of great interest for researchers.

The "supermoon" rises in Godewaersvelde. — AFP
The "supermoon" rises in Godewaersvelde. — AFP
The moon, appearing in a dim red colour, is covered by the Earth's shadow during a total lunar eclipse over the peak of mount Rigi, Switzerland. — Reuters
The moon, appearing in a dim red colour, is covered by the Earth's shadow during a total lunar eclipse over the peak of mount Rigi, Switzerland. — Reuters
A "supermoon" rises in the sky in Santiago city, Chile. — Reuters
A "supermoon" rises in the sky in Santiago city, Chile. — Reuters
The moon, appearing in a dim red colour, is covered by the Earth's shadow during a total lunar eclipse in Bogota, Colombia. — Reuters
The moon, appearing in a dim red colour, is covered by the Earth's shadow during a total lunar eclipse in Bogota, Colombia. — Reuters
The shadow of the Earth is seen on the Moon at the start of a total lunar eclipse over Dover in southern England. — Reuters
The shadow of the Earth is seen on the Moon at the start of a total lunar eclipse over Dover in southern England. — Reuters
A blood moon rises behind hilltop residences in Solana Beach, California. — Reuters
A blood moon rises behind hilltop residences in Solana Beach, California. — Reuters
The moon is partially covered by the Earth's shadow during a total lunar eclipse in this combination picture taken in Cape Town. — Reuters
The moon is partially covered by the Earth's shadow during a total lunar eclipse in this combination picture taken in Cape Town. — Reuters
Earth's shadow obscures the view of a so-called "supermoon" during a lunar eclipse over the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. — AP
Earth's shadow obscures the view of a so-called "supermoon" during a lunar eclipse over the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. — AP
The so-called "supermoon" passes behind the peak of the Washington Monument during a lunar eclipse. — AP
The so-called "supermoon" passes behind the peak of the Washington Monument during a lunar eclipse. — AP
A so-called "blood moon" can be seen behind a statue during a total lunar eclipse in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. — AFP
A so-called "blood moon" can be seen behind a statue during a total lunar eclipse in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. — AFP
A so-called "blood moon" can be seen behind the Quadriga sculpture on top of Berlin's landmark the Brandenburg Gate during a total lunar eclipse. — AFP
A so-called "blood moon" can be seen behind the Quadriga sculpture on top of Berlin's landmark the Brandenburg Gate during a total lunar eclipse. — AFP
The so-called "supermoon" is seen through branches of a tree during a lunar eclipse in Buenos Aires, Argentina. — AP
The so-called "supermoon" is seen through branches of a tree during a lunar eclipse in Buenos Aires, Argentina. — AP
The Moon, appearing next to the Eiffel Tower in a dim red colour, is covered by the Earth's shadow during a total lunar eclipse over Paris, France. — Reuters
The Moon, appearing next to the Eiffel Tower in a dim red colour, is covered by the Earth's shadow during a total lunar eclipse over Paris, France. — Reuters
A "supermoon" is seen during a lunar eclipse behind pods of the London Eye wheel in London. — Reuters
A "supermoon" is seen during a lunar eclipse behind pods of the London Eye wheel in London. — Reuters
A "supermoon" is seen rising beside the Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York. — Reuters
A "supermoon" is seen rising beside the Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York. — Reuters

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Comments (8) Closed

Hasan
Sep 28, 2015 07:05pm
WOW.. I missed it, but I'll make sure my grandson's don't.
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Shah Sahab
Sep 28, 2015 11:51pm
Coincidentally my eyes too stuck at the sky tonight... i keep looking at the moon thinking that how majestic it is! Came to know it was "super blood moon" today after decades. Thanks Dawn.
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Aussie
Sep 29, 2015 06:32am
great views.
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SHK
Sep 29, 2015 08:38am
Does it have any negative effect on eyes?
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saima
Sep 29, 2015 11:28am
@SHK no
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Ijaz
Sep 29, 2015 02:38pm
@SHK No
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Najeeb Khan
Sep 29, 2015 03:22pm
May any scholar through lights. With reference to Islamic point of view and other religions. And also scientific bases of its happenings. That will be helpful to have a true a picture in our mind.
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Dr.Cajetan Coelho
Sep 30, 2015 02:30pm
Awesome - nice photos. Thanks.
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