Coming Next Week: Super Blue Blood Moon

Coming Next Week: Super Blue Blood Moon

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, half of the planet will be treated to a "super blue blood moon" total lunar eclipse. This will be a Full Moon, Blue Moon, Supermoon, and if the sky is clear, a partial lunar eclipse.

And it's a "blood moon" because it will pass through the Earth's shadow, a lunar eclipse. Simply the second full moon in any month and for a month to have two full moons we usually have to wait about 2 1/2 years (or once in a blue moon, get it?). The climax of this show will be the blue moon turning red as it undergoes a full lunar eclipse. The effect of the total lunar eclipse begins in Kearney at 4:51 a.m. when the penumbra, the edge of the Earth's shadow, touches the moon.

So how rare is a super blood blue moon?

Dr Beshir Marzouk, the astronomy expert at QCH said two Blue Moons will happen during this year. When the eclipse of January 31 is nearly over, the moon would have just crossed the perigee position a day earlier with a distance of 358,993 kilometers from the Earth, making this eclipse as "Supermoon Eclipse".

Blue moons aren't that rare.

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But what will really make the January 31 moon spectacular for some viewers is the fact that it will be happening during a total lunar eclipse. In the article, he misinterpreted the definition of the blue moon as an extra full moon in a calendar month. People in those areas will have the best viewing before sunrise on January 31. If you want to try to see the eclipse, the best place to do so will be the western facing turnouts of the Shenandoah National Park (SNP).

While New Yorkers will still be able to appreciate the "super" and "blue" parts to the phenomena, the timing of the eclipse (the "blood" part) makes it harder for people on the East Coast to see it. Mark your calendars for January 20, 2019: a total lunar eclipse will start in the evening and run into the early morning hours. It's not so much of a mind-blowing event as the blood moon, but it's a little more visually significant than the blue moon. The moon sets before total eclipse here ME and the entire East Coast. It's at this time that you'll be able to see the max eclipse visible in Syracuse (which will only be a partial lunar eclipse).

The total eclipse will begin at 6:48 a.m. As Donald W. Olson, Richard Tresch Fienberg, and Roger Sinnott write for Sky and Telescope, the blue moon disagreement can be traced back to 1946, when James Hugh Pruett wrote an article for Sky and Telescope called "Once in a Blue Moon". This can occur only when the sun, Earth, and moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Stargazers further west will see more of the action. Totality will be during the 5 a.m. hour. This is when the moon enters the faint outer shadow of the Earth.

"In this case we have the moon visible in our sky and the sun is behind us", Berrier said.

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