Rare 'super blue blood moon' not seen for more than 150 years will grace the skies on Wednesday: Here's where and how to see it
- The event combines three unusual lunar events; a super moon, a blue moon and a total lunar eclipse
- It's the third in a series of 'super moons,' when the moon is closer to Earth in its orbit - known as perigee
- Asia, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, and the West Coast of North America will get the best view of the event
- While people in the eastern Hemisphere saw their last Blue Moon total lunar eclipse in 1982, for the Western Hemisphere, this eclipse will be the first blue moon total eclipse since 1866
A rare celestial event that hasn't been seen by much of the world in more than 150 years is set to grace the skies on Wednesday.
A 'super blood blue moon' will be visible on 31 January, with western North America, Asia, the Middle East, Russia and Australia getting the best view of the stunning event.
A 'super blue blood moon' is the result of a blue moon – the second full moon in a calendar month – occurring at the same time as a super moon, when the moon is at perigee and about 14 per cent brighter than usual.
It also combines with a blood moon – the moment during a lunar eclipse when the moon, which is in the Earth's shadow, takes on a reddish hue.
While people in the eastern Hemisphere saw their last Blue Moon total lunar eclipse in 1982, for the Western Hemisphere, this eclipse will be the first blue moon total eclipse since 1866.
A 'super blue blood moon' is the result of a blue moon – the second full moon in a calendar month – occurring at the same time as a super moon, when the moon is at perigee and about 14 per cent brighter than usual. It also combines with a blood moon – the moment during a lunar eclipse when the moon, which is in the Earth's shadow, takes on a reddish hue
This global map shows areas of the world that will experience (weather permitting) the January 31, 2018 'super blue blood moon.' The eclipse will be visible before sunrise on January 31 for those in North America, Alaska and Hawaii. For those in the Middle East, Asia, eastern Russia, Australia and New Zealand, it can be seen during moonrise the evening of the 31st
The alignment of the sun, moon and Earth will last one hour and 16 minutes and will be visible before dawn on January 31st across North America, Alaska, Hawaii and Canada.
For those in the Middle East, Asia, eastern Russia, Australia and New Zealand, the 'super blue blood moon' can be seen during moonrise in the evening of the 31st.
Experts say the best viewing in the US will be from the west.
In the UK, the moonrise will occur sometime around 4.55pm GMT. But the the lunar eclipse – will not begin until halfway through the night when the moon passed though the Earth’s shadow.
The partial eclipse is expected to begin around 11.48am GMT, before reaching its peak at 1.29pm GMT.
'Set your alarm early and go out and take a look', said Gordon Johnston, program executive and lunar blogger at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
'Weather permitting, the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii will have a spectacular view of totality from start to finish'.
For people viewing the event from New York or Washington, the moon will enter the outer part of Earth's shadow at 5:51 am (10:51 GMT) but will hardly be noticeable.
The darker part of Earth's shadow will begin to blanket part of the moon with a reddish tint at 6:48 am EST (11:48 GMT), but the moon will set less than a half-hour later.
'So your best opportunity if you live in the East is to head outside about 6:45 am (11:45 GMT) and get to a high place to watch the start of the eclipse—make sure you have a clear line of sight to the horizon in the west-northwest, opposite from where the sun will rise,' said Dr Johnston.
What is the super blue blood moon?
Experts believe the last time a super moon, blue moon and total lunar eclipse were all visible at the same time was from the eastern United States was on 31 May, 1844
'It's an astronomical trifecta,' said Kelly Beatty, a senior editor at Sky and Telescope magazine.
'That red light you see is sunlight that has skimmed and bent through Earth's atmosphere and continued on through space to the moon,' said Alan MacRobert of Sky and Telescope magazine.
'In other words, it's from all the sunrises and sunsets that ring the world at the moment.'
A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun is on the other side of the Earth while the moon is located on Earth's opposite side.
'Most of the time the full moon sits above or below Earth's shadow and the moon remains flooded with sunlight', explains Dr Tanya Hill, an Honorary Fellow of the University of Melbourne, writing for The Conversation.
'But twice a year, the three bodies fall into line so that Earth casts its shadow on the moon.'
The Earth's shadow is not completely black but has a reddishy hue, which has led many cultures to describe it as a blood moon.
The Earth's shadow is not completely black but has a reddishy hue, which has led many cultures to describe it as a blood moon. Sunlight manages to reach the moon but first it has to pass through Earth's atmosphere. This makes the sky redder (as it scatters away shorter shorter wavelengths of light) and also bends the path of the light, directing it into the shadow
Sunlight manages to reach the moon but first it has to pass through Earth's atmosphere.
This makes the sky redder (as it scatters away shorter shorter wavelengths of light) and also bends the path of the light, directing it into the shadow.
Unlike a solar eclipse, this lunar eclipse can be safely viewed without protective eyewear.
'We've had a lot of super moons and we've had lunar eclipses, but it's rare that it also happens to be a blue moon,' said Jason Aufdenberg, associate professor of physics and astronomy at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's campus in Daytona Beach, Florida.
'All three of these cycles lining up is what makes this unusual,' he added.
'It's just a wonder to behold.'
For people viewing the event from New York or Washington, the moon will enter the outer part of Earth's shadow at 5:51 am (10:51 GMT) but will hardly be noticeable. The darker part of Earth's shadow will begin to blanket part of the Moon with a reddish tint at 6:48 am EST (11:48 GMT), but the Moon will set less than a half-hour later
The first super moon of this year appeared on 1 January.
Lunar eclipses during a super moon happen rather regularly and the last one was in September 2015.
Lunar eclipses occur at least twice a year while super moons can happen four to six times a year.
The next super moon lunar eclipse visible throughout all of the United States will be January 21, 2019 - though that one will not be a blue moon.
A full moon occurs every 29.5 days, but our months are longer (excluding February).
This mismatch of timing means that every couple of years there comes a month with two full moons.
According to experts from Nasa, the event will also offer experts a chance to see what happens to the moon when it cools quickly.
This information will help them understand characteristics of the regolith — the mixture of soil and loose rocks on the surface — and how it changes over time.
According to experts from Nasa, the event will also offer experts a chance to see what happens to the moon when it cools quickly. This information will help them understand characteristics of the regolith — the mixture of soil and loose rocks on the surface — and how it changes over time. Pictured is the wolf moon
A rare 'wolf moon' rises behind St Paul's Cathedral and the City's skyline, photographed from the Hungerford Bridge, London. By comparing the two types of observations, the team is able to look at variations in particular areas — say, the lunar swirls at Reiner Gamma or an impact crater and the loose debris around it
'The whole character of the moon changes when we observe with a thermal camera during an eclipse,' said Paul Hayne of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder.
'In the dark, many familiar craters and other features can't be seen, and the normally nondescript areas around some craters start to 'glow' because the rocks there are still warm.'
Normally, the transitions into and out of darkness and the temperature changes that go with them, are spread over the course of a lunar day (29-and-a-half days).
'During a lunar eclipse, the temperature swing is so dramatic that it's as if the surface of the moon goes from being in an oven to being in a freezer in just a few hours,' said Noah Petro, deputy project scientist for NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
From the Haleakala Observatory on the island of Maui in Hawaii, the team will conduct their investigations at invisible wavelengths where heat is sensed.
They've done this kind of study a few times already, singling out individual lunar locations to see how well they retain warmth throughout the eclipse.
How quickly or slowly the surface loses heat depends on the sizes of the rocks and the characteristics of the material, including its composition, how porous it is and how fluffy it is.
By comparing the two types of observations, the team is able to look at variations in particular areas — say, the lunar swirls at Reiner Gamma or an impact crater and the loose debris around it.
This kind of information is useful for practical purposes such as scouting out suitable landing sites. It also helps researchers understand the evolution of the surface of the moon.
'These studies will help us tell the story of how impacts large and small are changing the surface of the moon over geological time,' said Dr Petro.
The Summer Solstice and the Supermoon
This was a weekend of the Sun and Moon -- a coincidence of the summer solstice and the "Supermoon". Friday was the summer solstice (in the northern hemisphere), welcomed by humans for thousands of years as the longest day of the year. In ancient times, people celebrated this day as the center point of summer. Some still observe the solstice with ceremonies and prayers, gathering on mountaintops or at spiritual landmarks.
Omen: floods, revolutions, wars, volcanoes, earthquakes, rattled markets- there’s a bad moon on the rise
June 21, 2013 – SPACE - The largest full moon of 2013, a so-called “supermoon,” will light up the night sky this weekend, but there’s more to this lunar delight than meets the eye. On Sunday, June 23, at 7 a.m. EDT, the moon will arrive at perigee — the point in its orbit its orbit bringing it closest to Earth), a distance of 221,824 miles. Now the moon typically reaches perigee once each month (and on some occasions twice), with their respective distances to Earth varying by 3 percent. But Sunday’s lunar perigee will be the moon’s closest to Earth of 2013. And 32 minutes later, the moon will officially turn full. The close timing of the moon’s perigee and its full phase are what will bring about the biggest full moon of the year, a celestial event popularly defined by some as a “supermoon.” While the exact time of the full moon theoretically lasts just a moment, that moment is imperceptible to casual observers. The moon will appear full a couple of days before and after the actual full moo most will speak of seeing the nearly full moon as “full”: the shaded strip is so narrow, and changing in apparent width so slowly, that it is hard for the naked eye to tell in a casual glance whether it’s present or on which side it is. During Sunday’s supermoon, the moon will appear about 12.2 percent larger than it will look on Jan. 16, 2014, when it will be farthest from the Earth during its apogee.
In addition, the near coincidence of Sunday’s full moon with perigee will result in a dramatically large range of high and low ocean tides. The highest tides will not, however, coincide with the perigee moon but will actually lag by up to a couple of days depending on the specific coastal location. When the perigee moon lies close to the horizon it can appear absolutely enormous. That is when the famous “moon illusion” combines with reality to produce a truly stunning view. For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, a low-hanging moon looks incredibly large when hovering near to trees, buildings and other foreground objects. The fact that the moon will be much closer than usual this weekend will only serve to amplify this strange effect. So a perigee moon, either rising in the east at sunset or dropping down in the west at sunrise might seem to make the moon appear so close that it almost appears that you could touch it. –Yahoo
Bad Moon Rising? John Fogerty reportedly wrote “Bad Moon Rising” in 1969 after watching The Devil and Daniel Webster. Inspired by a scene in the film involving a hurricane, Fogerty claims the song is about “the apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us.”Over the weekend, skywatchers around the world were also treated to views of the so-called Supermoon, the largest full moon of the year. On Sunday, the moon approached within 357,000 km (222,000 mi) of Earth, in what is called a perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system (perigee: closest point of an elliptical orbit; syzygy: straight line made of three bodies in a gravitational system).
The largest full moon of 2013, a "supermoon" scientifically known as a "perigee moon", rises over the Tien Shan mountains and the monument to 18th century military commander Nauryzbai Batyr near the town of Kaskelen, some 23 km (14 mi) west of Almaty, Kazakhstan, on June 23, 2013.(Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov)
Revelers celebrate the pagan festival of "Summer Solstice" at Stonehenge in Wiltshire in southern England, on June 21, 2013.
The festival, which dates back thousands of years, celebrates the longest day of the year when the sun is at its maximum elevation. Modern druids and people gather at the landmark Stonehenge every year to see the sun rise on the first morning of summer.(Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images) #
People look at the horizon soon after sunrise on June 21, 2013 from the rocky crest filled with astronomical markers at the megalithic observatory of Kokino during the summer solstice. The ancient astronomic observatory, located about 100 km northeast of Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, dates back to more than 4,000 years ago.
Andean religious leaders performs a traditional new years' ritual at the ruins of the ancient civilization of Tiwanaku located in the highlands in Tiwanaku, Bolivia, at sunrise on June 21, 2013. Bolivia's Aymara Indians are celebrating the year 5,521 as well as the southern hemisphere's winter solstice, which marks the start of a new agricultural cycle. (AP Photo/Juan Karita) #
Young women dressed as summer fairies attend an event inspired by pre-Christian traditions in Bucharest, Romania, on June 23, 2013. According to tradition, fairies, called in Romanian "Sanziene", come to earth around the summer solstice bringing fertility for the coming summer. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) #
A member of the Mayan Priest Council conducts a ceremony to celebrate the Summer Solstice in the San Andres Archeological Park, in San Juan Opico, 32 km west of San Salvador, El Salvador, on June 22, 2013. (Jose Cabezas/AFP/Getty Images) #
A view from Pajchiri mountain, where the Aymara people go to receive the first sunbeam during their new year celebrations, 90 km (56 mi) north of La Paz, Bolivia, on June 21, 2013. (Reuters/David Mercado) #
People raise their hands during a ritual at sunrise to celebrate the Aymara New Year on June 21, 2013 at the Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia. A crowd gathered to receive the first rays of Tata Inti (god Sun) during the celebration of the winter solstice that marks the beginning of the 5,521st year in the Aymara calendar. (Aizar Raldes/AFP/Getty Images) #
People hold their hands up to feel the first rays of sun during a traditional Andean new years' ritual at the ruins from the ancient civilization of Tiwanaku, Bolivia, on June 21, 2013. Bolivia's Aymara Indians celebrate the year 5,521 as well as the southern hemisphere's winter solstice, marking the start of a new agricultural cycle. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
Revelers kiss as they celebrate during the summer solstice at the ancient Stonehenge monument on Salisbury Plain in southern England, on June 21, 2013. (Reuters/Dylan Martinez) #
A girl takes photos of the Kokino megalithic observatory during the summer solstice celebration in Kumanovo June 21, 2013. The 3,800 years old observatory was discovered in 2001 in the north-western town of Kumanovo 70 km (43 miles) north of capital Skopje and is ranked as the fourth oldest observatory in the world after Egypt's Abu Simbel, Britain's Stonehenge and Cambodia's Angkor Wat, according to NASA. (Reuters/Ognen Teofilovski) #
Jessica Matla and Mica Sviddo pose for a photograph as they wait for the arrival of the midsummer dawn at the megalithic monument of Stonehenge, on June 20, 2013 near Amesbury, England. Despite cloudy skies, thousands gathered at the 5,000 year old stone circle in Wiltshire to see the sunrise on the Summer Solstice dawn. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #
People take part in a group yoga practice on the morning of the summer solstice in New York's Times Square, on June 21, 2013.(Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
People dance as they take part in the Ivan Kupala festival near the town of Rakov, some 45 km (28 miles) west of Minsk, Belarus, on June 22, 2013. The traditional festival celebrates the summer solstice with overnight festivities such as people singing and dancing around campfires, as they believe it will purge them of their sins and make them healthier. (Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko) #
A full moon also referred to as the "supermoon" rises over the San Juan bonfire on the beach of Playa de Poniente in Gijon, Spain, on June 24, 2013. Fires formed by burning unwanted furniture, old school books, wood and effigies of malignant spirits are seen across Spain as people celebrate the night of San Juan, a purification ceremony coinciding with the summer solstice. (Reuters/Eloy Alonso) #
Tourists look at the rising Supermoon from the elevated skywalk of the Supertrees Grove at the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, on June 23, 2013. (Reuters/Tim Chong) #
A man takes pictures of the full moon on the Spanish Canary island of Tenerife on June 22, 2013. (Desiree Martin/AFP/Getty Images) #
The Supermoon, behind the Marina district towers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on June 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) #
A rising moon, over the city of Rome, on June 23, 2013. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images) #
A cotton candy vendor walks in front of the moon during the Los Angeles Angels' baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, on June 22, 2013, in Anaheim, California, (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) #
The Supermoon rises next to the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse, on June 23, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Scott Eisen) #
The Supermoon sets behind the Statue of Liberty, Sunday, June 23, 2013, in New York. The larger than normal moon called the "Supermoon" happens only once this year as the moon on its elliptical orbit is at its closest point to earth and is 13.5 percent larger than usual. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) #
People ride the Luna Park Swing Ride as the Supermoon rises on Coney Island, on June 22, 2013. (Reuters/Carlo Allegri) #
People ride illuminated paddle boards in the moonlight as it rises over the Toronto Beaches, on June 23, 2013. (Reuters/Mar