Next week is bound to be a powerful one. On January 31, a supermoon, a blue moon, and a total lunar eclipse will be visible to skywatchers. As USA Today reports, the event is incredibly rare.
The blue moon total lunar eclipse is the first to occur in the U.S. since March 1866 (less than one year after the Civil War ended). Blue moons tend to occur every 2 1/2 years. However, this will be the second blue moon to appear in a single calendar month. January’s first full moon occurred on January 1st.
The exact moment of this full moon is 8:37 am Eastern Time. The celestial body will be visible for a full day or two after the anticipated event. Forewarning — the moon won’t actually appear blue. The full moon will take on a dark, reddish color during the eclipse. This is also why some refer to the happening as a “blood moon.”
NASA reports that the total lunar eclipse will be visible early in the morning of January 31 from western North America all the way to eastern Asia. United States citizens along the west coast will have the best view of the rare event. Those in central and eastern U.S. will have only be able to glimpse a partial eclipse, as the moon will set before totality.
Said Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center: “The lunar eclipse on Jan. 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.”
Expect to watch the eclipse (with protective glasses) for 3 1/2 hours. Its partial phase will be noticeable at 3:48 am Pacific Time until it ends at 7:12 am, according to Sky and Telescope.
A supermoon occurs when the full moon is at its closest point of its orbit to Earth. This placement is also called the perigee. When the moon is in this position, it look incredibly close and extra bright. In fact, the moon can appear to be 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than a full moon at its fathers point from earth (known as the apogee), says NASA.
One thing is for sure — this is an event you will not want to miss. Mark your calendars and prepare, for next week will be a powerful one. What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!