January 31, 2018 Super Blue Blood Moon and Lunar Eclipse

January 31, 2018 Super Blue Blood Moon and Lunar Eclipse

January 31, 2018 Super Blue Blood Moon and Lunar Eclipse

The "blood" nickname refers to the moon's reddish tint, caused by the reflection of sunlight during the eclipse.

A spectacular lunar event is coming next week.

If you live on the west coast, you're in for a rare treat in the wee hours of January 31: a "blue moon" lunar eclipse.

On the night of January 31, it doesn't matter what you're doing-you owe it to yourself to gaze at the sky.

This happened with our full moon earlier this month on January 1 and will again on January 31.

But the moon does not orbit the earth in a circular orbit. Since the moon needs to be behind the earth, relative to the sun, a lunar eclipse can only happen on a full moon. A supermoon can be 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than a regular full moon. Observers in the Pacific time zone will see the whole thing, only contending with twilight as the moon leaves the shadow.

"Sometimes the celestial rhythms sync up just right to wow us". This will also be the best time to see the Supermoon. The moon tends to appear larger to the human eye at this point, although no one really knows why. But don't let the exciting name fool you: to the casual observer, supermoons don't look much bigger than on an average night.

The term "blue moon" is also far from scientific and has had suffered some quarrels over its definition.

Why should the moon have any color at all if it's inside dark shadow? With most months longer than 29.5 days, it occasionally works out that we have two full moons. This year, however, we'll be spoiled.

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Robert Astalos, professor of physics, encourages the campus and community to view the full lunar eclipse on January 31.

And the "blood moon" business?

A "blood moon" is pictured from Gosford, Australia, north of Sydney, October 8, 2014. Then, sun, Earth and moon lie exactly in a line, the moon moves into the shadow, and we see an eclipse.

"We're seeing all of the Earth's sunrises and sunsets at that moment reflected from the surface of the moon", said Sarah Noble, NASA scientist.

This once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event hasn't happened in 150 years because it is very rare for a Blood Moon lunar eclipse to occur on the same night as a Blue Moon. "Other activities include quizzes on the lunar eclipses", he explained. "For this eclipse, much of the US will be racing against sunrise".

If you live in the western suburbs and if you're an early riser, you might get to witness an historic event.

As you can see, the circumstances surrounding this eclipse are challenging.

A supermoon in eclipse is pictured behind Glastonbury Tor in Glastonbury, U.K., September 27, 2015. The graphic below outlines the eclipse's timeline.

Totality should start at about 4:51 a.m. PT. No, the moon never gives off a blue hue.

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