File photo by Alexander Nguyen
File photo by Alexander Nguyen

Haze trumped hype Sunday night as Mother Nature pulled a cloudy curtain over the Southland’s much-anticipated supermoon lunar eclipse show.

Overcast skies throughout Southern California limited views of the region’s first such eclipse since 1982, dampening somewhat a rare celestial event for area sky-gazers.

At Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory, thousands of people who jammed Griffith Park were able to peek through clouds to see portions of the eclipse as it reached full stage while pianist Ray Ushikubo of the Colburn School played moon-related works, such as Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”

“It cleared up during (the full eclipse stage),” Griffith Observatory lecturer Dr. David Reitzel told City News Service.

There were hundreds of children in the audience, Reitzel said, some of which got on the stage to shout “Dragon be gone,” paying homage to cultures throughout history who thought an eclipse was a dragon eating the moon.

The eclipse was caused by the Earth passing between the moon and sun, with the Earth casting its shadow over the moon. The effect resulted in the moon not being blacked out, but bathed in a red glow, earning it the nickname “blood moon.”

Although there was a lunar eclipse in April, Sunday night’s coincided with a supermoon, when the Earth is closer than usual to the moon due to the moon’s elliptical orbit.

A supermoon lunar eclipse had not happened since 1982, and there won’t be another one until 2033.

The eclipse began at about 6:40 p.m., with the full face of the moon cast in the Earth’s shadow by 7:11 p.m. The moon begin emerging from Earth’s shadow at 8:23 p.m.

The entire event was over by about 9:45 p.m.

— City News Service

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