Another impressive feat by the great British weather: Friday's blood moon, the longest one recorded in the 21st century, was completely imperceptible to viewers in the UK thanks to the extremely ill-timed arrival of a whole bunch of thunderstorms. Sure, we've been begging for the storm to break for weeks, as the heatwave drained our energy and exhausted our supplies of blotting papers — but did we really not deserve even the tiniest glimpse of a breathtaking, record-breaking celestial event first? Here's how UK Twitter reacted to clouds obscuring the blood moon (spoiler alert: they weren't delighted.)
What exactly is a blood moon, for the uninitiated? Well, it occurs when the Earth moves between the Sun and the Moon, engulfing the latter in its shadow, the BBC explains. And since that's about as far as my GCSE-level scientific education will stretch, let's turn to an expert: astronomer Dr Stuart Clark told the Guardian, "The most spectacular part about a total lunar eclipse is that when the moon is fully in Earth’s shadow, it turns red. The red colour happens because sunlight is deflected through Earth’s atmosphere." He added, “The process is called refraction and it bends red light from the sun like a lens into the space behind Earth – and so on to the surface of the eclipsed moon.” Thanks Stuart!
A blood moon is also a rather big deal for astrology fans, too; according to this very website, the blood moon results in "all signs feeling everything more intensely than usual". Just how intensely, you may ask? Writer Brandi Neal offered this delightful metaphor: "If you're curious aboutjust how strong a full blood moon can be, think of regular full moon as Lorelai Gilmore after one cup of coffee. A full blood moon is akin to Lorelai after 10 pots of coffee." In short, the blood moon might have knocked your whole universe out of alignment and you didn't even get to see the darn thing.
Brits were pretty psyched about the blood moon: crowds even set up camp on Primrose Hill in London in the hope of securing the perfect view. And it sounds like it was a spectacular one. The BBC reports, "The "totality" period, where light from the Moon was totally obscured, lasted for one hour, 43 minutes" — the longest blood moon of the 21st century. According to the Guardian, "The best views were enjoyed by those in east Africa, the Middle East, India and the westernmost tip of China. Those in the rest of Africa, Europe, other parts of Asia, Australia and the eastern tip of South America were still able to see something of the moment." But not here in the UK! Solid work, British weather.
The best reactions, of course, came courtesy of Twitter. Some did their best to spot the lunar event:
Others pointed out the resolute contrariness of our beloved British weather:
Some determined photographers, meanwhile, did the best with what they got:
Listen: we may not have the weather, the best timing, or the once-in-a-century celestial events here in the UK. But we'll always, always have UK Twitter.