Blood moon rises over Manawatu

23:16, Apr 15 2014
Manawatu residents were treated to a fabulous astronomical sight as the moon passed through the earth’s shadow thus generating a total lunar eclipse.

It was the lunar eclipse that was not meant to happen, and Manawatu danced under the glory of it.

With rain predicted to wash out all chance of seeing last night's blood moon the MetService's Daniel Corbett suggested the region try a ''lunar eclipse wiggle'' to persuade a break in the clouds.

Someone did a jig.

The clouds kept away and the rain waited until the early morning, allowing the region a perfect view of what is the first of four successive total lunar eclipses, with no partial lunar eclipses in-between and six full moons between each eclipse.

The moon rose over the Tararua turbines with a bite out of it and was completely within the shadow by 7.06pm. Kids who had never seen anything like it pointed in amazement as it began to turn a coppery hue. Maximum eclipse was at 7.46pm, with totality ending at 8.23pm.

Palmerston North Astronomical Society president Ian Cooper said the group were calling it ''the miracle of the 15th''.


About 100 people, many of them parents with their children, turned out the the observatory at Anzac Park to watch the unexpected event, he said.

''When you look at how close the clouds were on the satellite and how they just rolled in straight after totality it's incredible that we got the view we did,'' he said.

Cooper has not missed any of the 20 lunar eclipses since 1967 and said this one ranked right up there.

''It was excellent. The interesting thing was that as far as blood moons go, this one was more yellowy-orange than red. It was quite clean. That happens - I've seen ones that are black which isn't much fun. This one was probably pretty similar to one we had in 2007 or the big one back in 2000.''

The next total lunar eclipse for Manawatu to look forward to will be overnight on October 8/9, with mid-eclipse at 11.55pm. The eclipse on April 4, 2015, will also be visible from this country, but that of September 28, 2015, would not be.


@hapiharry Great shots of #bloodmoon by @GrumpyDarren pity his ladder climbing isn't so great. Now it's #bloodfinger after crash

@NzChrissie I see a #bloodmoon arising 

@JPu02 Great vantage point out my bedroom window. Not one cloud. Cheers Palmerston North! #LunarEclipse

@JessCostall I hope you are all taking a look at the lunar eclipse tonight!

@grumpykat So this means all the vampires come out tonight.  Right?

@libr4ry_girl Can see red moon clearly in Palmy.