Super Blue Blood Moon : 1st Lunar Trifecta In 150 Yrs

by Samuel Abasi Posted on January 30th, 2018

Just before dawn on Wednesday, 3 lunar events will come together in an unusual overlap that’s called a Super Blue Blood Moon according to NASA. The moon is a “Super Blue Blood Moon ” Super, because the moon is at its closest point to Earth. Blue, because it is the second full moon of the month. Blood because a Total Lunar Eclipse will make it appear red!.

The 2nd full moon in Jan will take place on the 31st making it the 1st blue moon of 2018. It’ll also be considered a supermoon. AND a lunar eclipse will take place in the morning temporarily giving the Moon a red color known as a blood moon

Western states in the U.S. will have the best chances of seeing the eclipse Wednesday morning. And as the second full moon of the month, it’s also considered a “blue moon.”

According to NASA, the “super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse. While the moon is in the Earth’s shadow, it will take on a reddish tint, known as a ‘blood moon.'”

The moon will pass through the shadow of the Earth a couple of times a year.

The moon will be at its closet point to Earth — some 223,000 miles away — at 3:56 a.m. Tuesday.

The partial eclipse will start at 5:48 a.m. Wednesday. The totality phase begins at 6:51 a.m. — when the moon appears just 1.8 degrees above the horizon.

If you live in the western part of North America, Alaska, and the Hawaiian islands, you might set your alarm early the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 31 for a lunar trifecta: a pre-dawn “super blue blood moon.”

“For the (continental) U.S., the viewing will be best in the West,” said Gordon Johnston, program executive and lunar blogger at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Set your alarm early and go out and take a look.”

If you live in North America, Alaska, or Hawaii, the eclipse will be visible before sunrise on Jan. 31. For those in the Middle East, Asia, eastern Russia, Australia and New Zealand, the “super blue blood moon” can be seen during moonrise in the evening of the 31st.

“Weather permitting, the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii will have a spectacular view of totality from start to finish,” said Johnston. “Unfortunately, eclipse viewing will be more challenging in the Eastern time zone. The eclipse begins at 5:51 AM ET, as the Moon is about to set in the western sky, and the sky is getting lighter in the east.”

So for viewers in New York or Washington, D.C., the Moon will enter the outer part of Earth’s shadow at 5:51 a.m., but Johnston says it won’t be all that noticeable. The darker part of Earth’s shadow will begin to blanket part of the Moon with a reddish tint at 6:48 a.m. EST, but the Moon will set less than a half-hour later. “So your best opportunity if you live in the East is to head outside about 6:45 a.m. and get to a high place to watch the start of the eclipse—make sure you have a clear line of sight to the horizon in the west-northwest, opposite from where the Sun will rise,” said Johnston.

If you live in the Central time zone, viewing will be better, since the action begins when the Moon is higher in the western sky. At 4:51 a.m. CST the penumbra — or lighter part of Earth’s shadow – will touch the Moon. By about 6:15 a.m. CST the Earth’s reddish shadow will be clearly noticeable on the Moon. The eclipse will be harder to see in the lightening pre-dawn sky, and the Moon will set after 7:00 a.m. as the Sun rises. “So if you live in Kansas City or Chicago, your best viewing will be from about 6:15-6:30 a.m,” said Johnston. “Again, you’ll have more success if you can go to a high place with a clear view to the West.”

In the Rocky Mountain region, the show begins as the umbra touches the edge of the Moon at 4:48 a.m. MST. The peak of the blood moon eclipse is at about 6:30 a.m. local time, and the Moon will set shortly after 7 a.m.

Californians and viewers in western Canada will be treated to the total eclipse phase from start to finish, though the penumbral shadow will pass after the Moon has set. The umbral eclipse begins at 3:48 a.m. Pacific Time. At 4:51 a.m., totality will begin, with best viewing between about 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. local time. The totality phase ends about 6:05 a.m.

Weather permitting, eclipse fans in Hawaii will experience the lunar eclipse from start to finish, as will skywatchers in Alaska, Australia and eastern Asia.

If you miss the Jan. 31 lunar eclipse, you’ll have to wait almost another year for the next opportunity in North America. Johnston said the Jan. 21, 2019 lunar eclipse will be visible throughout all of the U.S. and will be a supermoon, though it won’t be a blue moon.

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