Don't miss the January 31 total lunar eclipse

27 January, 2018, 20:28 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Stages of the super blue blood moon as depicted by NASA

The ultra-rare, "lunar trifecta" is a combination of a lunar eclipse, blood moon and a super moon and won't happen again for another 150 years. Great question and here's the answer: This is our second "super full moon" of not only 2018 but January, as well which answers the "super" and "blue" parts of the title. The Blue Moon occurs once in every 2.7 years. Because it is the second full moon of the month, it's called a "blue moon". The total eclipse, however, begins when the moon moves entirely into the direct shadow of the Earth, called the umbra. Although a blue moon is simply an artifact of our calendar rather than an astronomical event, they only occur once every two-and-a-half years - the source of the saying "once in a blue moon" to describe an uncommon event. It's also not a reflection of a sad mental state of Earth's lunar partner. The moon orbits the Earth in an ellipse. A full moon will rise on March 1 and the blue moon on March 31. The light that reaches the moon appears red once reflected back to us on Earth. The turnouts provide a decent W/NW horizon and elevation for a good view of the setting/eclipsed Moon.

From supermoons and blood moons to black moons and blue moons, here's a cheat sheet to the full moon in all of her luminous guises.

A supermoon occurs when a full moon coincides with its closest approach during orbit to Earth, known as a perigee.

There are usually a couple of lunar eclipses each year so if you do miss it this time around, the next one will happen on July 27. The moon will appear as super-moon, with the perigee being on January 30.

Drum roll, please: according to Forbes magazine, blue moons make up about 3 percent of all full moons, supermoons are approximately 25 percent of all full moons, and total lunar eclipses occur during 5.6 percent of full moons. The eclipse will be so slight that viewers may not be able to notice a difference in the moon's appearance. 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.

Where the moon is covered by the Earth's shadow, known as the period of totality, it will last just over one and a quarter hours, according to EarthSky.

Brie Larson's costume in Marvel's 'Captain Marvel'
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Unfortunately, for those on the east coast, the moon will have already set by the time the eclipse begins.

In Florida and for the rest of the East Coast, stargazers only will witness a partial eclipse.

Mark your calendars and set your alarms now, space buffs, because a rare celestial event is taking place later this month.

Despite the name, blue moons aren't actually blue but white.

However, those who are disappointed should be over the moon on January 20, 2019, when Daytona will be in a prime position to see a super blood moon.

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