Science & Environment

Wolf moon: Full moon and lunar eclipse delight skywatchers

The wolf moon pictured above Menwith Hill, near Harrogate Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The wolf moon - the first full moon of the year - is pictured here above Menwith Hill, near Harrogate

Skywatchers have been treated to the first full moon of 2020 - known as a "wolf moon" - at the same time as a lunar eclipse.

Those gazing up at the skies on Friday, weather permitting, would have seen a penumbral lunar eclipse, which happens when the moon passes through the Earth's shadow.

The phenomenon, which began at 17:00 GMT in the UK and ended at around 21:00, saw the moon move into Earth's penumbra, or outer shadow, causing it to look darker than normal.

Full moon seen by Glastonbury Tor Image copyright Reuters
Image caption St Michael's Tower is seen on Glastonbury Tor, as a full moon rises in Somerset
The full moon seen rising behind a windmill on the Sussex downs Image copyright Reuters
Image caption At the Sussex Downs, the moon looms across a sunset horizon
Wolf moon seen over St Mary's lighthouse at Whitley Bay in Northumberland Image copyright PA Media
Image caption This image was taken by St Mary's lighthouse at Whitley Bay, in Northumberland

Ed Bloomer, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said people in the UK would be able to see the display "nice and clearly".

"It will be rising in the east as the sun sets in the west, and we'll be able to observe it throughout the night," he said.

The Met Office said "lovely clear skies" were expected for south-east England. But skies may be cloudier in the western parts of the country, with heavy rain expected across northern Ireland and Scotland.

The next full moon will occur on 9 February, which is known as "snow moon".

The lunar eclipse in Macedonian capital Skopje Image copyright EPA
Image caption The lunar eclipse is causing the moon - pictured here in Skopje in Macedonia - to look darker than normal
Wolf moon in Skopje Image copyright EPA
Image caption This image, showing the moon in much greater detail, was also taken in the Macedonian capital
The wolf moon Image copyright EPA

All images are subject to copyright.

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