PICTURE SPECIAL: Blood red ‘supermoon’ excites stargazers

Phil Haswell took these images of the moon from the Old Mill on Cleadon Hillls between 1am and 4am as he joined other members of South Shields Photographic Society and Digital Group.
Phil Haswell took these images of the moon from the Old Mill on Cleadon Hillls between 1am and 4am as he joined other members of South Shields Photographic Society and Digital Group.

A blood red ‘supermoon’ appeared in the skies above Britain for the first time in 30 years early today.

The eerie light created from a lunar eclipse with the moon near to its closest point to the Earth delighted amateur astronomers - but filled others with dread.

Some religious groups and believers in astrology are convinced it is a sign that the End of Days is approaching.

The spectacle is from 1.10am in the UK, with the “total” phase - when the moon is completely in shadow - lasting from 3.11am to 4.24am.

It ended when the moon leaves the Earth’s shadow at 6.24am, by which time much of the North East was becoming shrouded in fog.

When the moon is at perigee, its shortest distance from the Earth, it is 226,000 miles away and appears 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than when it is at its furthermost point.

These photos were taken by Steven Lomas from South Shields. The 29-year-old amateur stargazer used a Celestron telescope to take the pictures.

These photos were taken by Steven Lomas from South Shields. The 29-year-old amateur stargazer used a Celestron telescope to take the pictures.

The last time this coincided with a lunar eclipse, when the moon is covered by the Earth’s shadow, was in 1982, and the event will not be repeated until 2033.

During a lunar eclipse, the moon turns a deep rusty red, due to sunlight being scattered by the Earth’s atmosphere.

Dozens of amateur photographers posted their best efforts on social media, although those taking pictures on their phones were mostly disappointed.

Through the ages, so-called “blood moons” have been viewed as ill omens by superstitious people.

These photos were taken by Steven Lomas from South Shields. The 29-year-old amateur stargazer used a Celestron telescope to take the pictures.

These photos were taken by Steven Lomas from South Shields. The 29-year-old amateur stargazer used a Celestron telescope to take the pictures.

Unlike with a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is completely safe to observe through binoculars or a small telescope.

Many believe this eclipse is significant as it marks the completion of an unusual line-up of four total eclipses at six-monthly intervals known as a “tetrad”.

Texan pastor and author John Hagee says this has only happened three times in the past 500 years, and claims it is likely to herald a “hugely significant” world event.

• Did you get a picture of the supermoon? We’d love to see it. Share it with us on Twitter or Facebook.

These photos were taken by Steven Lomas from South Shields. The 29-year-old amateur stargazer used a Celestron telescope to take the pictures.

These photos were taken by Steven Lomas from South Shields. The 29-year-old amateur stargazer used a Celestron telescope to take the pictures.

This shot of the supermoon was captured by Sunderland photographer Dean Matthews.

This shot of the supermoon was captured by Sunderland photographer Dean Matthews.

Keith Rogers, of Manor Garth Drive in Hartlepool, took these images.

Keith Rogers, of Manor Garth Drive in Hartlepool, took these images.

Alec Jones took these images from Cleadon Hills between 1am and 5am.

Alec Jones took these images from Cleadon Hills between 1am and 5am.

@Duxy68, from Hartlepool, posted these images of the moon on Twitter.

@Duxy68, from Hartlepool, posted these images of the moon on Twitter.

@Duxy68, from Hartlepool, posted these images of the moon on Twitter.

@Duxy68, from Hartlepool, posted these images of the moon on Twitter.