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Photos show rare blue supermoon rising in night sky as it dazzles stargazers

 (PA)
(PA)

Stunning images have emerged of a rare blue suspermoon which dazzled stargazers across the globe on Wednesday night.

It could be seen illuminating the skyline of major cities across the globe, including London, New York, Istanbul and Moscow.

Saturn joined the celestial spectacle, visible alongside the moon, at least where skies were clear.

A ‘blue’ moon refers to the second full moon in one calendar month, which occurs approximately once every two or three years, rather than its colour.

The super blue moon over the city of London seen from Primrose Hill (PA)
The super blue moon over the city of London seen from Primrose Hill (PA)

It was unusually close to Earth on Wednesday night, therefore a ‘supermoon’.

Astronomer Professor Don Pollacco, from the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick, said: “One of the flukes of nature is that the apparent size of the moon can be very similar to that of the sun.

“This occurs because, while the moon is much smaller than the sun, it is much closer to the Earth.”

Adding that the moon has an elliptical orbit around the Earth, he continued: “Now that we understand the moon’s orbit around the Earth we can talk about supermoons.

“These occur when there is a full moon at the time when the moon is closest to the Earth.

The blue supermoon rises over Lake Michigan as spectators watch from Chicago's 31st Street beach (AP)
The blue supermoon rises over Lake Michigan as spectators watch from Chicago's 31st Street beach (AP)

“Consequently, the Moon can look bigger (10 to 15 per cent) and brighter (25 to 30 per cent) than a normal full moon.”

Prof Pollacco said: “The moon is so bright that we can see it when it’s not particularly dark or even if the weather isn’t particularly clear.”

The moon appeared to be bigger and brighter than usual, given its close proximity to Earth: just 222,043 miles (357,344 km) or so.

The previous supermoon on August 1 was more than 100 miles (160km) farther away.

People viewed the super blue moon as they traveled in a IFS Cloud Cable Car at Greenwich (PA)
People viewed the super blue moon as they traveled in a IFS Cloud Cable Car at Greenwich (PA)

It made a spectacular backdrop in photos taken on Wednesday night, appearing a reddish colour in some.

People gathered on Primrose Hill in London to see it rise amid cloudy skies over the capital, while others snapped it from inside their homes.

Londoners took to social media to share photos of the spectacle, with one person commenting that the supermoon “turned London into Paris”.

It was also photographed looking larger than usual in the skies above cities including Liverpool, Edinburgh, and Morocco’s capital, Rabat.

The blue supermoon rises in the city of Rabat on August 30 (AFP via Getty Images)
The blue supermoon rises in the city of Rabat on August 30 (AFP via Getty Images)

For those who missed it, it will be a long wait until the next blue supermoon, which is not due until 2037.

But another regular supermoon is on the horizon at the end of September – the last one of the year.