Science, Now + Beyond

The Super Blue Blood Moon is coming this Wednesday. Here’s how to watch it.

Yes, really.

When I was pregnant in 2016, there happened to be a few celestial events.

During one lunar eclipse, I got very strict orders from back home to not go out during the eclipse, to not touch anything sharp and to lie down straight all day. The strictness of these instructions and authority of the source made me resent eclipses. Which is a shame as it made me miss out on the biggest celestial event of 2017: the total solar eclipse that happened in August 2017.

It turns out I didn’t miss out on much as I was situated in the UK and the event that had most of United States out in a massive party was extremely underwhelming in here. The moon only covered a tiny fraction of the Sun.

This year in January, however, an event nothing short of phenomenal is occurring. It is something that only happens once in a blue moon (pun intended).

Animated young blonde girl with green eyes jumping up and down in excitement
giphy.com

On January 31st we will witness a Super Moon, a blue moon and a total lunar eclipse all at the same time! The last time this happened was almost 150 years ago. Although Time.com reports  Wright and Fred Espenak, a famed eclipse expert, and retired NASA astrophysicist, said the last total lunar eclipse during a super blue moon was on Dec. 30, 1982.

Here is how that will work:

A blue moon is when a full moon comes up twice in one month, the occurrence is not as rare as the phrase suggests. The moon on the 31st however, will not be blue. It will most likely be red or coppery which is a characteristic of a total eclipse.

A full blue moon
giphy.com

A supermoon is when the moon is closest to earth. The moon’s average distance is While the moon’s average distance is 238,000 miles (382,900 km) from Earth.

On 31st January, it will be the about 221,559 miles (356,565 kilometers) from Earth. Because the moon will be its closest to Earth, it will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter.

And now for the best part: the eclipse. To brush up on our elementary science a lunar eclipse is when the Earth gets in between the Sun and the Moon. For the eclipse to happen the earth and the moon have to align. So, to sum it up, on the 31st of January we will have a super blue moon. The earth will then orbit in between the sun and the moon and we will witness a total lunar eclipse. Amazing right?!

The Eclipse will begin at 07.51 a.m. ET and will be visible from the western Pacific Ocean, Alaska, western Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, and Japan. Since the event starts at sunrise, North Americans will only be able to see a partial eclipse.

Depending on where you are in the world, I hope you remember to schedule a viewing of this phenomenal celestial event. It took (possibly) 150 years in the making, you might not be around for the next time this happens! And scary myths aside, nothing short of another pregnancy will keep me away from this one.

And if one lunar eclipse wasn’t enough, we have another one in store for us later this year! On July 27th, viewers from South America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia will have a chance to view the moon as small as it possibly can be. The moon will eclipse when it will be furthest away from Earth, making it the smallest moon of 2018. According to National Geographic, “the moon will travel through the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, potentially making this a particularly deep total eclipse.”

Two lunar eclipses occurring at two different times but in the same year. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.