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Celestial spectacle: 'Super blue blood' moon to end January

29 January 2018

What makes the moon look full? Because the Moon's rotation is tidally locked to the Earth, it rotates once around its axis in the same amount of time it takes to revolve around the Earth, and thus we always see essentially the same face of its surface.

A full moon is when we see its entire lit-up side. Totality will occur at 4:52 a.m., when the moon is fully immersed in the Earth's shadow.

On Jan. 2, we had our first full moon of the month, and on Wednesday we'll have a blue moon.

There's only going to be a brief window to observe the total lunar eclipse because the moon will being setting shortly after 7 a.m.

N. Raghunandan Kumar, director of Planetary Society, said, "The moon goes around the Earth every month in an oval orbit, and it is far and near the Earth one time in a month".

What is a lunar eclipse?

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This particular total lunar eclipse will be visible to people on the West Coast of the United States.


For 77 minutes, the full moon will pass through the Earth's shadow, casting an orange hue over the moon. If it is cloudy, or if you don't live in the area where you can see it, here's where to access a hi-def live stream that will enable viewers to watch the glorious celestial progression of our only natural satellite. But don't worry if you miss it, lunar eclipses happen on average a couple times a year. The second one will happen in July but Florian said it won't be visible in North America.

The total lunar eclipse, which occurs about every year or two, is the most palpable of the three events and at the center of Wednesday's pageantry. "It's basically just your eyes alone, that's all you really need to see the red moon".

What's big and blue and red all over?

The term blood moon isn't a scientific term but one coined colloquially.

Once in a blue moon there's a reason to get up in the middle of the night. There are two different definitions of blue moon.

For the first time in the Americas in more than 150 years, a blue moon, supermoon and lunar eclipse will fall on the same night! The third is now due to arrive at the end of the month. The moon does not actually look blue.

A "super blue blood moon" happens when a blue moon occurs at the same time as both a super moon and a blood moon. The moon itself can in-fact appear blue, but it takes an abundance of dust or smoke particles in the atmosphere, which happened after forest fires in Sweden and Canada in 1950 and 1951, and after the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, which caused the moon to appear blue for almost two years.

Celestial spectacle: 'Super blue blood' moon to end January