Updated: Jun 23
The humble moon that rises night after night may not call for much attention, but on 26th May 2021, many were gawking at the velvety night sky to catch a glimpse of the Super Blood Moon.
Millions around the world went shutter crazy and captured tons of photographs that erupted on social media channels.
What is the Blood Moon?
The Blood Moon is a total lunar eclipse that happens during the perigee phase of the moon (i.e. when the Moon is at its closest point to Earth on its orbit).
For those who missed it, do not despair. There are two lunar eclipses this year and the next is set to take place on 19th November 2021. This second eclipse is only a partial eclipse so it would not be as bold or as impressive as the one we had experienced in May. Still, it is worth making a note of this in your Calendar so you can get your cameras ready!
The Super Blood Moon (sometimes also known as the Flower Moon) is called “Super” for a reason. According to Professor Fred Watson, Astronomer-in-Charge of the Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO) at Siding Spring near Coonabarabran, the Blood Moon looks around 14% bigger and appears approximately 30% brighter than its micro moon phase. While our eyes are not able to pick up on these numerical differences, it is still quite a mesmerising sight to behold.
What is interesting is, the moon has not really ballooned up suddenly. It is actually a state of optical or moon illusion. As it was rising, it looked bigger than it really was.
Australia was one of the best spots (except for Western Australia), along with New Zealand and Hawaii to enjoy this amazing phenomenon. When the Earth cast a shadow across the moon, it took on hues of reddish pink. The total eclipse lasted 13 minutes from 9:11pm to 9:25pm. Some may even have spotted the heart of the Scorpion Antares (´Rival of Mars´), which is a star that was shining brightly near the moon in eclipse.
Shutter Happy Bugs
The Blood Moon was an opportunity not to be missed by shutterbugs all over, and professional photographers had their gear all ready to capture that special moment.The big plus point of a moon eclipse is, you do not need to don your shades and can stare all you want without searing your eyesight. Whether it was with the quintessential mobile phone or the full photography arsenal, everyone was waiting outside or from their windows for Mother Nature to wow everyone.
One of these professional photographers was Andy Cheung from ArcK Photography. He is a professional sports photographer specialising in tennis with more than twelve years of experience, and accredited for photographing more than twenty Grand Slam Championships and other tennis events world wide. That night, he put aside his fascination with tennis balls for something just as round but much, much bigger. As they say, aim for the skies and that was what Andy did.
It was cold and windy that night at Sydney Harbour Foreshore, but Andy was hardly bothered. He was all prepared to record the stunning astronomical event, and it was well worth the 4-hour wait as he created this amazing composite (not to scale).
Andy is also the official photographer for UK Tennis Magazine since 2012, British Tennis Coaching Association, Sydney International Tennis Tournament for Tennis Australia, Tennis Australia, Hong Kong Tennis Open, and Hong Hong SportSoho Magazine. His photos have been on public exhibition in recent years (2016 - 2020) in Sydney and Melbourne. Born in Hong Kong and trained in the United Kingdom, Andy now resides in Australia with his family.
Another shutterbug who was thrilled about the eclipse was Geoffrey Lind, a retiree and volunteer at the Marine Rescue Jacobs Well in Queensland. Geoffrey is a keen amateur photographer, and he proved you do not need to be a super professional to capture a piece of nature's magic for all eternity. All you need is your own backyard, purchase some fittings to hook up your DSLR camera to a telescope and you are ready to imprint a beautiful Blood Moon onto film. While he did not manage to get the shots he wanted in the moment itself, he persevered and the results were still amazing!
More Eclipses to Come
If you missed the last Blood Moon eclipse, fret not. There are more eclipses to come.
Take note of this date - 20th April 2023. People in Australia, especially the north of Western Australia, will have the rare chance to witness an unusual eclipse. Professor Watson calls this next eclipse “a hybrid eclipse”, otherwise known as the King of Eclipses where you can still see parts of the sun's disc around the edge of the moon. Glowing like a ring of fire.
It is still a couple of years away, but star-gazers and professional photographers are already prepared for it. Most of the accommodation in the area of Exmouth Cape is fully booked.
If you cannot be on land, why not go on water?
P&O Cruises has announced plans for a special cruise and partnered with the Astronomical Society of Australia to offer the Ningaloo King of Eclipse Cruise to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for travellers, eclipse-hungry enthusiasts and fervent photographers.
This 5-night cruise will depart on 17th April 2023, well ahead of time, so it can track into position for its passengers waiting to experience the eclipse on 20th April 2023. There will also be special talks offered by astronomical experts who will be travelling onboard the cruise. Astronomical Society of Australia Vice President John Lattanzio said he was thrilled that P&O Cruises Australia was offering a once-in-a lifetime experience for seasoned or budding umbraphiles - people who love eclipses and often travel to see them.
This is going to be one exciting ride for many, and being out on open waters under the immensity of the vast darkness waiting to soak in the mystical occurrence of an eclipse is an experience to savour for the rest of one's life.
This hybrid eclipse is a rare one, and it has not been visible from Australia for almost 1000 years. There were only five total solar eclipses visible from Australia in the last century and it has been almost 50 years since Western Australia experienced one.
So, are you an umbraphile, and where would you be on 20th April 2023 when the sun, the moon and the Earth all align during a precious, rare 1 minute 16 seconds?
Book the Ningaloo King of Eclipse Cruise with Wauchope Travel.
Contact Wauchope Travel
t: 20 6585 2288
Shop 1, 31 High Street, WAUCHOPE, NSW 2446, Australia
For your professional photography needs, contact Andy Cheung, ArcK Photography
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