A rare blue supermoon lunar eclipse coming this January... for the first time in 150 years
In a rare occurrence, the first month of this year shall see two supermoons. One of them is extra special. Read on to know why
We seem to currently be in the middle of a delightful astronomical feast, with the skies putting a show for us earthlings. The very first supermoon of the year fell on the 1st day of January — what a way to start the new year! Just before that, in December, the world witnessed one of the most prominent meteor showers ever.
And If you were awestruck by the New Year's Day supermoon, hold onto your pants, because on January 31, around midnight, the full moon will not only be super, it will be a blue moon and a blood moon — a cosmological triple delight!
This rare coincidence of blue moon, supermoon and lunar eclipse is the first to grace our skies in over 150 years, Phys.org reports. A blue moon, which has nothing to do with the actual color of the moon, occurs when there are two full months in the same months. It occurs roughly once every two and a half years. Hence the saying “once in a blue moon”.
New Year’s Day brought us a spectacular wolf full moon, named for the howls of hungry wolves in winter. This moon was also a supermoon, and the brightest moon we will see all year, according to Space.com. The full moon on the last day of this month, just about squeezes in, which makes it a blue moon.
Right out of the gate, 2018 is offering a celestial show that includes an eclipse, a meteor shower and two supermoons — the latter a super blue blood moon. https://t.co/v55GxruVcp pic.twitter.com/c7InXVZrOI— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) January 2, 2018
But wait, there’s more to this supermoon than just that. The blue moon and the super moon will also coincide with a total lunar eclipse this month. The upcoming moon will end what NASA calls a “supermoon trilogy.” Although the super blue moon is not expected to shine as quite brightly as the moon on New Year’s Day, but it will offer something better instead—the red glow of a total lunar eclipse.
So this gives us a supermoon which tis also a blue moon, but is ironically red in color — a super blue blood moon! Very royal indeed! The Earth will sit directly between the sun and the moon, obscuring light which normally reflects brightly. As sunlight is filtered through the Earth’s atmosphere it creates a glowing reddish hue on the surface of the moon.
Super Moon rising over The Mount of Olives— Liz (@lizfebruary9) January 5, 2018
Blue Moon and Blood Moon Jan 31 @GodsGrace57 @SandiHKaye @Speedcomesfirst @endtimeslife @emmanuelobi476 @AHeartofVirtue @csilvi72 @lizBeth_Hineni @Heisnear_Com @Gianlui91580067 @sami1231sami11 @james_anderssen pic.twitter.com/omRe4AtrCl
That's three big Moon moments on one glorious night for skywatchers. The best place to see it, according to Space.com, will be in central and eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia. Alaska, Hawaii and parts of western US will also experience the full eclipse. For the rest of the mainland US, the eclipse will be partial.
Nasa offers advice on when to look out for this super blue blood moon. “The lunar eclipse on January 31 will be visible during moonset. Folks in the eastern United States, where the eclipse will be partial, will have to get up in the morning to see it,” said Noah Petro, a research scientist from Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center on the agency’s website.
The last time all three events lined up this perfectly was more than 150 years ago, on 31 March 1866.
This hasn't happened since 31 March 1866. On January 31, midnight, full moon will not only be super, it will be a blue moon and a blood moon. Blue moon comes as it will be the second full moon in a month. Happens every two and a half years, hence the saying once in a blue moon. pic.twitter.com/GZndC34HBS— DEBBIE (@MoonEmpath) January 5, 2018
Following is the timetable for the main stages of the moon's passage through the Earth's shadow for six time zones — one for Hawaii (HST), one for Alaska (AKST) and four across the US and Canada: Pacific (PST), Mountain (MST), Central (CST) and Eastern (EST) courtesy of Space.com.
Along the US West Coast, the total phase begins at 4:51 am PST. The farther east you go, the closer the start of the partial phases will coincide with moonrise.
Along the US Atlantic Seaboard, for instance, the moon will have only just begun to enter the darkest part of Earth's shadow, the umbra, at 6:48 am EST when it will disappear from view below the west-northwest horizon.
For those who can see it, the total duration of the total eclipse phase is 77 minutes, with the moon tracking the lower part of the Earth's shadow.
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