Sky gazers are in for a rare treat Wednesday, January 31, when three celestial events combine to create a super blue blood moon. NASA Television and the agency’s website will provide live coverage of the celestial spectacle beginning at 5:30 a.m. EST (1030 UTC).
Weather permitting, the broadcast will feature views from the varying vantage points of telescopes at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California; Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, and the University of Arizona’s Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter Observatory.
This event offers a rare opportunity to see a supermoon, a blue moon, and a lunar eclipse at the same time. A supermoon occurs when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit and appears about 14% brighter than usual. As the second full moon of the month, this moon is also commonly known as a blue moon, though it will not be blue in appearance. The super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow and take on a reddish tint, known as a blood moon.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and a full moon form a near-perfect lineup in space. The total phase of the eclipse will last 1 hour, 16 minutes. The whole process will take more than 4 hours.
If skies are clear, the US West Coast, Alaska, and Hawaii will have the best view of totality, from start to finish. For the eastern US and Canada, a clear view will be limited, as the Moon sets and the Sun rises during the early stages of the eclipse.
The last total lunar eclipse occurred September 27-28, 2015. The next total lunar eclipse visible across North America will occur on January 21, 2019.
The January 31 eclipse is the third in a series of supermoons in December 2017 and January 2018. Watch the Supermoon Trilogy video.
Follow the event online at https://moon.nasa.gov.
Join the conversation on Twitter at https://twitter.com/NASAMoon. — NASA news release