Ottawa’s sky early Wednesday morning was graced with a rare sight not seen in North America since before Confederation.
The triple threat was a supermoon, blue moon and blood moon at the same time, a rare occurrence.
[caption id=“attachment_86349” align=“aligncenter” width=“1000”]
Wednesday’s lunar eclipse seen from Ottawa. (Devyn Barrie/OttawaStart.com)[/caption]
A supermoon occurs when the moon’s perigee – the point where its orbit is closest to Earth – coincides with a full moon. A blue moon happens when two full moons occur in the same calendar month; a blood moon is the reddish colour the moon takes on when it passes into Earth’s shadow during a total lunar eclipse.
The last time a total lunar eclipse coincided with a blue moon and was visible in North America, the year was 1866 – one year after the end of the American Civil War and one year before Queen Victoria signed the British North America Act, birthing the Dominion of Canada.
Although it was a total lunar eclipse, Wednesday’s event was not fully visible in Ottawa. The moon began passing into the Earth’s shadow at 6:48 a.m., but set at 7:23, long before the totality of the eclipse could have been witnessed. The best views were in Asia, Europe and the Pacific.
The next total lunar eclipse visible in Canada will be on Jan. 20, 2019.