Don't miss the January 31 total lunar eclipse


This rare alignment of three different lunar phenomena-a total lunar eclipse, a full moon at perigee, and a blue moon-will be visible in the night and early morning skies for much of the world on Wednesday, January 31.

This latest supermoon, however, is also dubbed a "blue" moon because it will be the second full moon this month.

As the first word in its long title suggests, this is considered a supermoon, which is when a full moon coincides with the moon's closest approach to Earth on its elliptical orbit (known as perigee). The first is any time a second full moon occurs in a single month.

"Blood moon" refers to a lunar eclipse, where the moon is bathed in a red glow. "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", NASA said in a news release.

Odds are you've heard about the upcoming Super Blue Moon eclipse.

NASA says those in the eastern part of the USA will have just a half an hour, starting at 6:45 a.m., to see the phenomenon before the moon sets at 7:15 a.m. on the 31st.

The next blue moon total lunar eclipse won't be until December 31, 2028, according to NASA. When there are four full moons in a season, the third full moon is considered a Blue Moon.

According to information available online, the name Blue Moon has nothing to do with its colour.

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"January 31 will nonetheless be special since the moon would rise when it is in total eclipse", Galgali said. That is because there will be a full moon.

Like the earth, half the moon is illuminated by the sun at any one time. "It is fascinating to see the partial phase progress across the face of the moon, and the color of the moon during totality is both lovely and kind of eerie".

Lunar eclipses usually occur a few times year. "That is mostly due to it being slightly closer to us, but also the moon always looks brighter in the winter".

And the "blood moon" business?

The Blue Moon will start to enter the outer part of Earth's shadow at 5:51 a.m.

The total eclipse will end at 19:08PST, partial eclipse at 20:11 and the penumbral eclipse at 21:08PST. The light is red, says Petro, for the same reason that we see red sunrises and sunsets when the sun is low in the sky and its light is filtered through the atmosphere. Unfortunately for MI, this means the moon will be setting in the west and undergoing eclipse as it sets in the western sky and the glow of day begins.

What is a blue moon?

The intensity of the red color varies by how directly the shadow falls on the moon. The event will begin at 5:30 Eastern Time on January 31st, and if that's a deterrent for you, turn back now!

"I have always been fascinated by the night sky", Johnston said.