Why Hawaii Was The Sweetest Spot To See The 'Blood Moon' (PHOTOS)

We know, we know: You've already seen several images of last night’s total lunar eclipse.

But you haven't seen it like this yet.

Due to its low light pollution, remote and idyllic landscapes, and a whole sub-population of people with a passion for astronomy, Hawaii may have been the Western Hemisphere's sweetest spot for observing the "blood moon."

The state, which is home to the famed Mauna Kea observatories on the Big Island of Hawaii and the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii on Oahu, is affectionately known as “Earth's connecting point to the rest of the Universe.” Moreover, given Hawaii's history with expert navigators, "knowledge of the night sky is an integral part of [Hawaii's] culture and history,” according to the institute’s outreach coordinator and astronomer Dr. Roy Gal.

The time difference helps too. While most stargazers across North and South America had to set their alarms in order to catch the stellar sight, astronomy enthusiasts and several staffers from the institute and the observatories enjoyed the eclipse starting at about 8 p.m. HST on April 14.

The below photos make it pretty hard to argue: Hawaii definitely has a unique connection with the celestial.

blood moon at mauna kea
Photographer Andrew Richard Hara's composite of the eclipse alongside the W. M. Keck Observatory at the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. At right, Keck's Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics system in action.

“Mauna Kea is one of, if not, the most spiritually connected places I have ever set foot on," photographer Andrew Richard Hara told HuffPost. "The ability to witness the entirety of the Milky Way with your bare eyes is something not only incredible, but also humbling to acknowledge how interconnected we are with the Earth, atmosphere and the space above."

blood moon mauna kea
The blood moon at Pu'u Weiku Summit on Mauna Kea showing the eastern glow of Hilo, Hawaii. Photo by Andrew Richard Hara.

lunar eclipse totality
Amateur astrophotographers Steve Pazienza and Alex Dzierba beautifully captured the lunar eclipse totality. That's the star Spica is glowing blue in the upper right corner.

lunar eclipse
Despite hazy, cloudy conditions, Alex Dzierba managed to snap the eclipse approaching totality in Kapiolani Park in Honolulu.

blood moon keck
The blood moon by W. M. Keck Observatory electrical engineer Andrew Cooper.

blood moon mars
Mars is seen above and to the right of the blood moon, photo by Andrew Cooper.



Supermoon 2013