What is a 'super blue blood moon'?

Terry Joseph
January 29, 2018

"For the (continental) USA, the viewing will be best in the West", said Gordon Johnston, program executive and lunar blogger at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

But what will really make the January 31 moon spectacular for some viewers is the fact that it will be happening during a total lunar eclipse.

A blue moon is the name of any month's second full moon - an event that only occurs once every three years.

The full moon will take on a dark, reddish appearance during the eclipse, so another phrase used to describe it is a blood moon.

NASA says residents in Australia - as well as the Middle East, Asia, eastern Russian Federation and New Zealand will be able to view the super blue blood moon and lunar eclipse during moonrise in the evening of January 31.

A supermoon happens when the moon is full as its orbit takes it closest to the earth. On this date, the satellite will have reached a full stage, so it will be the second full moon in January.

As long as the weather doesn't try to ruin things, observers in Alaska, Australia, eastern Asia and Hawaii will be experience the whole phenomenon from start to finish. The moon will be just above the horizon by less than a degree, perhaps already set for many area viewers. There will be a full lunar eclipse, a blue moon and a blood moon. Pacific Time, although the shadow will start appearing on the moon at approximately 3:48 a.m.

The eclipse will last nearly 3½ hours from the beginning of the partial phase at 3:48 a.m. PT until it ends at 7:12 a.m. PT, according to.

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Although parts of the lunar eclipse will be seen across North America, "people get a better and better show closer to the west coast", he says.

With the moon setting, make sure you have a non-obstructed view of the western sky. Totality will occur at 4:52 a.m., when the moon is fully immersed in the Earth's shadow.

And even in the Earth's shadow, enough sunlight will pass through the atmosphere to illuminate the moon.

With the sun not shining on the moon, it is going to darken.

The Virtual Telescope Project will also live stream the eclipse with source material in Australia and the U.S. beginning 6:30 a.m. EST (1130 GMT) until 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT).

The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California, will live stream the eclipse beginning 5:45 a.m. (1045 GMT) until 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT). The next solar eclipse will be a partial eclipse on October 14, 2023.

It will happen between 6:51 and 7:12 a.m.

The next eclipse visible from western Kentucky will be a total lunar eclipse on January 21, 2019.

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