After 152 years, 'Super Blue Blood Moon' will be seen on Wednesday

28 January, 2018, 00:51 | Author: Grady King
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The full moon will pass into Earth's dark shadow in the early morning on January 31, making the moon look at if it's glowing red, hence the name, "blood moon". While it sounds like it could be band name, it's actually a confluence of three things: a supermoon, a blue moon, and a blood moon (a total lunar eclipse). A supermoon can be up to 30-percent brighter and up to 14-percent larger compared to the average moon size and brightness we see most of the time.

A blue moon signifies two new moons during the same month, because the moon's orbit does not coincide completely with the calendar.

"So for viewers in NY or Washington, D.C., the Moon will enter the outer part of Earth's shadow at 5:51 a.m., but (lunar blogger Gordon) Johnston said it won't be all that noticeable".

In the case of a lunar eclipse, the sunlight that makes it around Earth passes through our atmosphere and is refracted toward the moon. This isn't just a super moon, and it's not just a blood moon.

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By 7:28 a.m., the earth's shadow will obscure just over half of the moon, and it will appear at its reddest - this is the best time to view the eclipse. Mathematically, there are about 29.5 days between full moons, so a blue moon only occurs once every 2.7 years, according to astronomy and mathematics.

In the event you aren't vacationing in Hawaii to see this on Wednesday, be comforted in that fact that we'll have another chance next January 21 to see a fully eclipsed super moon.

While there is plenty of folklore about the effect of full moons, from werewolves to sleeplessness, the impact here on earth is minimal, even during a supermoon. People in those areas will have the best viewing before sunrise on January 31. But by the time it reaches total eclipse, the moon will have dipped below the horizon.

In addition, this supermoon happens to fall during a lunar eclipse - an astral phenomena that hasn't occurred in 150 years. The reddish hue of the moon occurs due to the bending of light in the atmosphere once the moon enters the shadow of Earth. Most beautifully, as the eclipse begins, we will see the Earth's shadow, the curve of the planet edging itself onto the surface of the moon. Viewers from eastern Asia, the Pacific, and western North America will get the best view, but viewers in eastern North America and Europe will also catch a partial eclipse.

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At a time of year when the sun tends to monopolise attention, the moon is getting in on the act with a triple whammy.

The last total lunar eclipse visible on Earth was September 28, 2015. As Donald W. Olson, Richard Tresch Fienberg, and Roger Sinnott write for Sky and Telescope, the blue moon disagreement can be traced back to 1946, when James Hugh Pruett wrote an article for Sky and Telescope called "Once in a Blue Moon". The red and orange wavelengths are bent toward the moon while other colours scatter away from the moon. The eclipse starts at 5:51 a.m.

"In this case we have the moon visible in our sky and the sun is behind us", Berrier said.

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