Stargazers were treated to a ‘wolf moon’ on Friday night as the first full moon of 2020 coincided with a lunar eclipse.
The ‘penumbral lunar eclipse’, where the moon passes through the earth’s shadow, sparked a flurry of pictures across social media as astronomy enthusiasts marvelled at the bright moon.
The phenomenon sees the moon move into Earth’s penumbra, or outer shadow, causing the earth’s natural satellite to look darker than normal.
In January, the full moon is sometimes labelled a “wolf” moon.
Occasionally it can turn red, dubbed a ‘blood moon’ but those hoping for such a phenomenon were left disappointed.
Ed Bloomer, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said: “Unfortunately, we won’t get one of those until 2021, though there are another three penumbral eclipses to look forward to in 2020.”
The name ‘wolf moon’, coined by Europeans and Native Americans, comes from the howling of wolves that could be heard in the depths of winter.
Wolf moon over Peckham. The first full moon of the decade, coinciding with a lunar eclipse. Called wolf moon by Europeans and Native Americans because of the lupine howling that went on at midwinter. Aroooooo!#wolfmoon pic.twitter.com/PKlCcd3MUJ
— Anna Mazzola (@Anna_Mazz) January 10, 2020
The moon was spotted across the country, from rural areas to London.
Earlier on Friday, Andrew Peters captured breathtaking scenes of the full moon setting over an ancient ridge in the picturesque Shropshire Hills.
Mr Peters’ photographs show the moon setting over Devil’s Chair in the Stiperstones National Nature Reserve just before dawn on Friday – ahead of the Wolf Moon – and said he believes it is the fist time the scene has ever been captured.
The next full moon will occur on February 9, which is also known as snow moon.
It is thought that it will be a ‘Super Snow Moon’ – a supermoon is a new or full moon which happens when its orbit takes it closest to the Earth.