Europa’s Super Blue Blood Moon Photos

The Super Blue Blood Moon was a sight to see! Don’t you think so? Many awoke in the early morning hours to watch the moon turn red, and those who missed it were able to view stunning photographs of it on the internet. Amazing photographers from all over the world captured shots of this ‘once in a blue moon’ event.

On January 30th, from 6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. HST with location coordinates of 18.99°N, 149.50°W, Europa was able to capture a photo series of the moon rising! She wasn’t able to catch the moon when it turned red because it was too high in the sky. We only had a short window (an hour) of when the moon was in the camera view. Even so, the pictures are remarkable, as they are likely the only pictures in the world captured that night by an autonomous ocean vehicle (see image series below). In the first photo of the series, it was still light because the sun had just set. As the moon rose, the images became darker but then lightened again as the moon rose further into the sky because of its brightness.

To obtain this image series, we calculated the trajectory, angle, and rising time of the moon relative to Europa's location. We then steered Europa to face the right direction where the camera could capture the moon rising in front of her. During that hour (starting at 6:15) we set the camera payload to take a photo every 15 minutes, totaling five pictures.

Who knows what will be taking pictures of the next Super Blue Blood Moon on January 31, 2037!

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