The Irrawaddy

Beijing Treated to Super Lunar Eclipse Not Seen Since Qing Dynasty

Skywatchers gather at Beijing Planetarium to watch a “super blue blood moon" eclipse with telescopes on Jan. 31.

BEIJING — Millions of people across the Chinese capital were treated to a “super blue blood moon” eclipse on a cold but clear night on Wednesday, a phenomenon not seen since the late Qing dynasty more than 150 years ago.

The eclipse coincided with a so-called blue moon — or the second full moon in a calendar month — and a super moon, when the moon is at, or near, its closest to Earth.

About 400 super-keen skywatchers dressed in thick coats queued patiently outside the Beijing Planetarium to peer into eight telescopes mounted on tripods.

Beijing was among a number of locations in the country and on the Pacific Rim that witnessed the total lunar eclipse.

The entire passage took more than three hours, during which the moon turned a coppery red as sunlight going through Earth’s atmosphere bounced off its surface.

The rare eclipse was also visible across western North America and in Australia, Japan and Southeast Asia.

The “lunar trifecta,” as it is described by NASA, last took place in the Western hemisphere on March 31, 1866, when the second dome of the United States Capitol had just been completed and HG Wells, author of “The Time Machine,” was born.