Update: Jan 31. The image below is from about 5:45 am this morning in California. Did you enjoy the rare super blue blood moon?
What are you planning for the night of January 31, 2018? The super blue blood moon of 1/31/18 is “super” because it is relatively closer to the earth than usual, “blue” because it is the second full moon in January, and a “blood” moon because it happens during an eclipse which can give the moon a reddish tint. Will you view the super blue blood moon?￼
January skywatchers are in for a rare treat: a Blue Moon, a total lunar eclipse and a supermoon all in the same month. A Blue Moon is when two full moons happen in the same calendar month; lunar eclipses occur when the moon passes into Earth’s shadow; and supermoons happen when the moon’s perigee — its closest approach to Earth in a single orbit — coincides with a full moon. In this case, the supermoon also happens to be the day of the lunar eclipse.
The first full moon of January will take place on the night of Jan. 1 or the morning of Jan. 2, depending on your location. The second full moon and the lunar eclipse will occur on the night of Jan. 31 or the morning of Feb. 1. And the supermoon will take place on the night of Jan. 30, which is technically one day before the moon reaches peak fullness, but even NASA is willing to call the event a supermoon nonetheless. [How to Photograph the Supermoon: NASA Pro Shares His Tips]
Blue Moons are not as rare as the old saying “once in a blue moon” implies; they happen about once every 2.7 years, because the number of days in a lunation (new moon to new moon) is a bit less than the usual calendar month — 29.53 days as opposed to 31 or 30 days (except for February, which has 28 days, so a blue moon cannot occur). A sequence of 12 lunations adds up to 354.36 days, against the 365.24 days in a year. The discrepancy adds up over time, until a year will have 13 lunations as opposed to 12. For some observers, 2018 will feature two Blue Moons — one in January and one in March (with no full moon in February).
While the super blue blood moon won’t be shining any shade of azure, it will take on a coppery-reddish glow on January 31. Now, the blood moon isn’t a scientific term but it describes the color the moon takes on when it undergoes a total eclipse.
During a total lunar eclipse the earth is in between the sun and the moon, this means the moon is not receiving direct sunlight from the sun. Instead the only light you see is refracted through earth’s atmosphere, giving it a red tinge. Because of this colorful effect people sometimes call a lunar eclipse a blood moon.
All three of these phenomena will be occurring at the same time at the end of January, giving the super blue blood moon its compound name.
I will climb an ancient misty mountain, then put on goat leggings and dance around a fire chanting mystical incantations to evoke world healing.