Blood Moon – 26th May, 2021

The last Super Blood Moon was visible in Hong Kong 21 years ago, with the next one destined for October 7 2033.

That made the night of the 26th May 2021 a pretty important deal for the world’s skywatchers, astronomers, spiritualists and naysayers alike. A major event then and certainly not something the crew at Lantau Network should be missing out on.

With that in mind, our intrepid photographer packed her trusty tripod and 400mm lens and headed up to the top of Lo Yan Shan – Old Man Mountain.

Being the highest point on the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula at 300 meters and well away from urban light pollution, it makes it an ideal location for a spot of star gazing and stunning views of the island below.

The effort was indeed well rewarded as the full moon rose and the lunar eclipse began to weave its magic.

Lunar eclipses can only happen during a full moon, when the sun fully illuminates the surface. Usually a full moon has no eclipse because the moon orbits in a slightly different plane than the Earth and the sun do.

However, at times the planes coincide. The Earth passes in between the moon and the sun and cuts off the sunlight, causing an eclipse.

During a full eclipse, however, something spectacular happens. The moon is fully in the Earth’s shadow. At the same time, a little bit of light from Earth’s sunrises and sunsets falls on the surface of the moon.

The light waves are then stretched out and they look red. Then when this red light strikes the moon’s surface, it also appears red.

As a less than regular occurrence, Blood Moons have of course always fascinated people, for millennia in fact, inspiring myths and legends, many of which portray the event as an omen and a portent of doom.

The ancient Inca people for example interpreted the deep red colour as a jaguar attacking and eating the moon. They believed that the jaguar might then turn its attention to Earth, so the people would shout, shake their spears and make their dogs bark and howl, hoping to make enough noise to drive the jaguar away.

In India also the lunar eclipse bears ill fortune. Food and water are covered and cleansing rituals performed. Pregnant women especially should not eat or carry out household work, in order to protect their unborn child.

It’s not however all doom and gloom you will be glad to hear, as the moon also has a friendlier face. At least for Native American Hupa and Luiseño tribes from California, who believed that the moon was wounded or ill. After the eclipse, the moon would then need healing, so they would sing and chant healing songs towards it to aid its recovery

In an even more uplifting legend, the people of Togo and Benin in Africa view the eclipse as a conflict between sun and moon – a conflict that the people must encourage them to resolve. It is therefore a time for old feuds to be laid to rest and friendships to be renewed.

Whatever your take on the astrological phenomena happens to be, we hope also managed to fine yourself a good spot to enjoy the spectacle as it was certainly a good one to be able to tick off the old ‘bucket list’.

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