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Rare "supermoon" eclipse early Monday morning

Early risers in Finland will have the rare opportunity to witness an astronomical phenomenon of a total lunar eclipse of a so-called "supermoon." It has been more than 30 years since the last combination of the two phenomena occurred.

Video: Kuuvakoosteessa kuunpimennys.
US space agency NASA explains the astronomical phenomenon of the supermoon eclipse

The supermoon, when the moon is closest to earth in its orbit and appears larger than usual, is also known as a “blood moon,” due to the earth’s shadow casting a reddish glow on the moon.

In Finland the supermoon-lunar eclipse will begin at 5:11 am on Monday, and last until about 7:30 am.

Associate Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Helsinki Peter Johansson says that the moon will not disappear completely during the eclipse, but will become dimmer and become red in colour.

“It could be a little difficult to see that the moon appears larger than usual,” Johansson says. “One should really see the normal sized moon next to it to be able to tell the difference.”

Johansson says that the colour of the moon will gradually turn a pinkish hue then become a darker red, copper or blood-red colour.

“This is a unique spectacle in the form of an astronomical phenomenon. It isn’t something you want to watch on TV. Witnessing this helps us understand our place in the solar system,” Johansson says.

The next total lunar eclipse will occur in 2018 and the next supermoon-lunar eclipse will not happen again until the year 2033.

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