Skygazers around the world were treated to a rare sight: a blood supermoon, caused by the convergence of two astronomical phenomena – a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse. Earth's shadow blanketed the full moon as the planet passed between the sun and the moon. The brilliant white glow of the moon slowly transformed into a dim red. The colouring is caused by Earth's atmosphere scattering sunlight into the shadow.

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The supermoon rises behind Glastonbury Tor in Somerset, EnglandMatt Cardy/Getty
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A blood supermoon is seen during a lunar eclipse behind pods of the London EyeToby Melville/Reuters
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The phases of a total lunar eclipse are seen in Gaiberg near Heidelberg, south-western GermanyDaniel Roland/AFP

The moon appeared bigger and brighter as it reached a point in its orbit that is closer to Earth than usual. Because the moon's orbit is elliptical, its distance from Earth varies as it circles around the planet every 27 days. At its closest point, known as perigee, the moon comes as close as 225,622 miles (363,104 km) from Earth. At apogee, the most distant point, the moon is 252,088 miles (406,696 km) away.

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The blood supermoon is seen behind a statue on the Alexander III bridge in Paris, FrancePhilippe Wojazer/Reuters
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A supermoon rises above Brighton, East Sussex, EnglandToby Melville/Reuters
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The blood moon is seen behind the Quadriga sculpture on top of Berlin's Brandenburg GateKay Nietfeld/AFP
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A red moon can be seen between the steeples of the Cologne Cathedral in GermanyRolf Vennenbernd/AFP
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The blood moon can be seen behind a statue in Frankfurt, GermanyFrank Rumpenhorst/AFP
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The dome of the Koekelberg Basilica in Brussels is seen while the moon turns orangeYves Herman/Reuters
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The supermoon is seen in the sky behind a sculpture of a baby on a building in Prague, Czech RepublicDavid W Cerny/Reuters
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The red moon is seen behind a sculpture in the Israeli Mediterranean coastal city of NetanyaJack Guez/AFP
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A pale pink moon rises over a yacht in Boston Harbour, MassachusettsScott Eisen/Getty
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The supermoon rises above people swimming off Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, BrazilMario Tama/Getty
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A supermoon rises over a minaret of a mosque in Wadi El-Rayan Lake in the desert of Al Fayoum Governorate, south-west of Cairo, EgyptAmr Abdallah Dalsh /Reuters

It has been more than 30 years since a supermoon combined with a lunar eclipse, said Nasa. The next total lunar eclipse will not be until 2018. The next supermoon lunar eclipse combination will not happen until 2033.