Early morning risers were treated to a spectacle in the sky Wednesday in Southern California.
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A blue blood supermoon was visible on the West Coast -- the best coast for skygazing during this rare type of total lunar eclipse that will combine a blue moon, blood moon and supermoon into one. Clear skies offered visitors at the historic Griffith Observatory and other locations spectacular views.
Hundreds of people gathered at the Observatory high above Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. Sky-gazers also lined the beach near Santa Monica Pier.
The last time this lunar trifecta occurred was Dec. 30, 1982, but it wasn't visible in the western hemisphere. There is a blue blood moon in 2028, but the next blue blood supermoon won't happen until Jan. 31, 2037.
So what's in a name and what makes this eclipse so rare?
While the name might suggest the moon will appear blue, that won't actually be the case. That's because the "blue" part of the name refers to a blue moon, which just means it's the second full moon of the month (the first one happened Jan. 1)
This is the first total lunar eclipse in North America since 2015. When a total lunar eclipse happens, the moon appears "blood" red. That's because it's in Earth's shadow, meaning that the only light that can get to the surface of the moon is red.
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So now comes the "super" part. On Wednesday, the moon will also be at its closest distance to the Earth, making it appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than a typical full moon.
Combine the three and you get a rare lunar trifecta: a blue blood supermoon.
The eclipse began at 3:48 a.m. and ends at 7:12 a.m., but only between 4:51 a.m. and 6:08 a.m. will the moon totally eclipse the sun and appear blood red.
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