In pictures: 'Super blood wolf moon'

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image source, Reuters
image captionThe start of the total lunar eclipse seen in San Diego, California

Stargazers have been scanning the skies for sightings of a highly unusual lunar eclipse, which began on Sunday night.

During the spectacle, known as a "super blood wolf moon", the moon appears to glow red while seeming brighter and closer to Earth than normal.

The event was initially visible from North and South America, as well as areas of western Europe. In parts of the UK some clouds obscured the view.

The next total lunar eclipse is expected in two years, on 26 May 2021.

"A little bit of sunlight is refracted by the Earth's atmosphere and reaches the Moon, bending around the edges of the Earth," says Walter Freeman, an assistant teaching professor at Syracuse University in New York state.

"This small amount of red light still illuminates the Moon enough for us to see it."

image source, Reuters
image captionThe total lunar eclipse, seen here from Madrid
image source, Reuters
image captionThe best time to see the totality of the eclipse was around 05:12 GMT

This kind of eclipse occurs when the Earth passes precisely between the Sun and the Moon.

In this situation, the Sun is behind the Earth, and the Moon moves into the Earth's shadow.

The eclipse began at 02:35 GMT on Monday and ended at 07:49 GMT, but the point of greatest eclipse occurred at 05:12 GMT.

image source, AFP
image captionAll the phases of the so-called super blood wolf moon, seen here from Panama City

The rare celestial event gets the "super" part of its name from the fact that the Moon will be near its closest approach to the Earth - when it will be marginally bigger in the sky than usual.

The "wolf" part comes from the name given to full moons in January - "wolf moons".

image captionThe celestial event, seen here from Brighton, UK, was later blocked by some clouds
image source, Reuters
image captionThe moon seen beside a quadriga on top of the Cinquantenaire arch in Brussels
image source, EPA
image captionA view of the lunar eclipse above the St Elizabeth Church in Nuremberg, Germany

Many of you have been sending your photographs to the BBC. Here is a selection of your images:

image source, Tom Starr
image captionArmed with a 500mm lens and an all important cup of coffee, Tom Starr took this snap in his pyjamas at home in Speldhurst, Kent, England
image source, Mike Simmans
image captionPeter Simmans took this photo of the blood moon alongside All Saints Church in Brightlingsea, Essex, England
image source, Peter Alden
image captionPeter Alden took this shot through the trees from outside his home in Seaford in East Sussex, England
image source, Joe Sheridan
image captionJoe Sheridan, who completed a photography degree three years ago aged 60, plans to enter this in the Washington Camera Club competition in the north east of England.

All pictures subject to copyright

image source, Mike Simmans
image captionPeter Simmans took this photo of the blood moon alongside All Saints Church in Brightlingsea, Essex, England

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