Total Lunar Eclipse 2018: Rare ‘Super Blood Blue Moon’ Visible On January 31

A cosmic event not seen in 36 years a rare “super blood blue moon” may be glimpsed January 31 in parts of western North America, Asia, the Middle East, Russia and Australia. The event is causing a buzz because it combines three unusual lunar events an extra big super moon, a blue moon and a total lunar eclipse.

A blue moon refers to the second full moon in a month. Typically, a blue moon happens every two years and eight months. This full moon is also the third in a series of “supermoons,” which happen when the moon is closest to Earth in its orbit. This point, called the perigee, makes the moon appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter. During the eclipse, the moon will glide into Earth’s shadow, gradually turning the white disk of light to orange or red.

That red light you see is sunlight that has skimmed and bent through Earth’s atmosphere and continued on through space to the moon. The alignment of the sun, moon and Earth will last one hour and 16 minutes, visible before dawn across the western United States and Canada. Those in the Middle East, Asia, eastern Russia, Australia and New Zealand should look for it in the evening, as the moon rises.

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