Supermoon eclipse dazzling for Canadian skygazers, weather permitting

The rare confluence of a total lunar eclipse with a so-called supermoon Sunday night offered spectacular views to people in Manitoba and the East Coast, but was marred by cloud cover in Calgary and Ontario.

Manitobans treated to some of the best views

Prairies get the best supermoon view

CBC News

6 years ago
Canadians skygazing for supermoon, eclipse report range of experiences but clear skies in the west deliver the goods 1:35
Stargazers across Canada were in for a two-for-one treat Sunday night with the rare confluence of a total lunar eclipse with a so-called supermoon. 

A supermoon occurs when a full or new moon makes its closest approach to the Earth and appears slightly larger and brighter than normal.

As the moon was eclipsed by the Earth's shadow on Sunday, it also turned a reddish colour, an eerie wonder known as a blood moon.

The timing of the eclipse was good for most parts of Canada, but those on the West Coast missed the initial stages because the moon was lower in the sky.

Jeff Smith was able to enjoy the unique event from the comfort and vantage of his apartment on Canada's East Coast, which also happened to be located in the tallest building in Halifax.

"I'm pretty excited. I love this sort of thing," said the British native, living in Nova Scotia for school. "The reflection on the harbour in Halifax is gorgeous."

He watched the Earth's shadow begin to creep across the moon's surface, describing the experience as awe inspiring.

His earlier attempts to photograph the lunar phenomenon were unsuccessful, he said: "It's too bright. Unless you've got a really top-end camera, it comes out like the sun."

The CBC's Peter Cowan in St. John's was rewarded for his patience with this shot of the end of the eclipse. 

Norm Lee used a 200-mm Canon lens to capture a shot of a rose-hued moon over Vancouver.

Meanwhile, Jeff Smith chose to take his family to the top of the Centennial Park ski hill in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke to absorb the view, albeit under slightly cloudier circumstances.

While the weather made for less-than-perfect picture-taking opportunities, Smith was more philosophical when reflecting on the degree of excitement that had built up through social media for the relatively rare celestial occurrence.

Rare blood-red supermoon eclipse


6 years ago
Astronomer Ryan Marciniak discusses Sunday's unique celestial event that won't happen again for 18 years 3:11

"It's one of those things that sort of brings people down to Earth, " he mused. "It's a little humbling if you get out and appreciate it for what it is."

Twitter promoted the use of the hashtags #supermoon and #superbloodmoon with a special blood-red moon icon. Some used the hashtags to express their frustration with the viewing conditions. 

While clouds obscured the view for many in the Toronto area, they did part just enough for Kimberly Mallett to capture this dazzling shot of the blood-red moon. 

The weather was even less co-operative in Calgary, where cloud cover prevented many from taking in the sight.

The city's social media-savvy Mayor Naheed Nenshi took to Twitter to comment dryly on the overcast skies, prompting invitations to join other moon gazers elsewhere in the country.

No such viewing troubles were to be had in Manitoba, where Todd Scott watched the show from Grand Marais, about 100 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

"It's perfectly clear. The light has just been fantastic. There are waves coming off the lake you can hear on the marsh. The birds are chirping away," he said.

The start of Sunday's eclipse, as seen in Winnipeg. The next so-called supermoon eclipse is expected to occur in 2033. (Bert Savard/CBC)

"You can see the shadow slowly coming over the moon, almost like the edge of a finger on a photograph."

The next total eclipse won't happen until 2018, and the next total eclipse of a supermoon won't happen until 2033.

With files from CBC News


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