At the end of January, stargazers are set to witness a trio of lunar phenomena, all aligned to create an incredible view.
The second full moon of the month will occur on January 31, marking the first of two ‘blue’ moons in 2018 – and, this will line up with a total lunar eclipse, which will turn the moon a striking red color for what’s known as the ‘Blood Moon.’
Just one night earlier, the moon will reach its closest point to Earth, marking the second arrival of the supermoon this year.
THE SECOND FULL MOON OF THE MONTH WILL OCCUR ON JANUARY 31, MARKING THE FIRST OF TWO ‘BLUE’ MOONS IN 2018 – AND, THIS WILL LINE UP WITH A TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE, WHICH WILL TURN THE MOON A STRIKING RED COLOR FOR WHAT’S KNOWN AS THE ‘BLOOD MOON.’ STOCK IMAGE
The total lunar eclipse on January 31 will be the first time an event of this kind has coincided with the Blue Moon in over 150 years, according to Space.com.
Depending on where you’re observing from, it will happen either on the night of the 31, or the morning of February 1.
Some have dubbed it a ‘Super Blue Blood-Moon’.
In a Blue Moon, the moon doesn’t actually appear blue; instead, the name indicates that it is the second full moon in a particular month.
This time around, however, it really will change color – but, it won’t be blue.
During a lunar eclipse, Earth lines up between the sun and the moon, blocking the light that hits the lunar surface.
This casts an Earth shadow over the moon, and causes it to appear blood red or orange during totality.
On January 31, it will happen in the middle of the night, when the Pacific Ocean faces the moon.
DURING A LUNAR ECLIPSE, EARTH LINES UP BETWEEN THE SUN AND THE MOON, BLOCKING THE LIGHT THAT HITS THE LUNAR SURFACE. THIS CASTS AN EARTH SHADOW OVER THE MOON, AND CAUSES IT TO APPEAR BLOOD RED OR ORANGE DURING TOTALITY
IN A BLUE MOON, THE MOON DOESN’T ACTUALLY APPEAR BLUE; INSTEAD, THE NAME INDICATES THAT IT IS THE SECOND FULL MOON IN A PARTICULAR MONTH. THIS TIME AROUND, HOWEVER, IT REALLY WILL CHANGE COLOR – BUT, IT WON’T BE BLUE. THE ‘BLUE MOON’ WILL ALIGN WITH A LUNAR ECLIPSE, TURNING IT RED
This means it ‘favors the western U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii and British Columbia,’ NASA says, along with central and eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and most of Australia.
These locations will be able to see the lunar eclipse from start to finish.
The phenomenon can be seen from anywhere it is night-time, Space.com explains, though viewers in some regions will only be able to glimpse a partial eclipse.
Viewers in New York, for example, will only be able to catch the first part of the event, as it will start just 16 minutes before the moon sets, at 6:48 a.m. local time.