If you live in the Western United States, you don’t need to blunder the unbelievably occasional lunar incident happening later this month. The last time a “super blue blood moon” adorned the skies was 31st March, 1866. The next one will happen on 31st January, 2018.
1st “Super Blue Blood Moon” In Over 150 Years Is Happening Later This Month
So, what exactly is this ominous-sounding “super blue blood moon”? It’s actually a combination of three different celestial phenomena: a supermoon, a blue moon, and a blood moon.
A supermoon is a full moon that occurs during its perigee, i.e. the point in its orbit when it is at its closest to the Earth. The result is a moon that appears especially large and bright. On average, a supermoon is about 14 percent more dazzling than usual.
This will be the second supermoon of the month and the third since 3rd December, 2017. The first was visible on January 1 or January 2, depending on whether you were in the Eastern or Western Hemisphere. Because it is the second full Moon of the month, it is also a blue moon. These only happen once every 2.7 years – hence the expression, “once in a blue moon”.
To complete the trifecta, a total lunar eclipse will take place, turning the “super blue moon” into a “super blue blood moon”. During the eclipse, the Earth will sit between the Moon and Sun, blocking all sunlight to the former and casting it in an eerie shade of coppery red.
According to NASA, the “super blue blood moon” can be seen before sunrise on January 31 if you are staying in North America, Alaska, or Hawaii and during moonrise if you are in the Middle East, Asia, eastern Russia, Australia, or New Zealand.
But the very best places to see it, reports Space.com, will be central and eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Australia.