‘Super blood moon’ in the night skies above Ballycastle

'Super blood moon' in the night skies above Ballycastle. PICTURE BY STEVEN MCAULEY, MCAULEY MULTIMEDIA
'Super blood moon' in the night skies above Ballycastle. PICTURE BY STEVEN MCAULEY, MCAULEY MULTIMEDIA

Astronomical enthusiasts in Northern Ireland and the world enjoyed one of the universe’s most spectacular and rare sights of a so-called super blood moon which lit up the dark sky in the early hours of Monday morning.

Two major events happened around 3am as a super moon coincided with a total lunar eclipse for the first time in 30 years.

The moon became the ‘star’ of the night sky as it turned red in colour during the unusual phenomenon which involved it appearing 14% bigger.

The strange colour came as the light from the sun shone onto the moon after being refracted and scattered through the dust in Earth’s atmosphere as the planet passes in between the two, casting a shadow and causing the eclipse.

The last time it happened was in 1982 and the next is 18 years away, in 2033.

The spectacle lasted 71 minutes, reaching its peak at 3.47am.

NASA has called on all budding amateur photographers to compete for the best shot of the display.

The space agency wants people to send in their best shots, with the overall winner having their picture published.PICTURE STEVEN MCAULEY/MCAULEY MULTIMEDIA