The Super Blue Blood Moon

Tonight (31 January, 2018) the world, or at least a lot of it, will get to see a very rare lunar event, known as a super blue blood moon. The last time such a combination of lunar phenomena took place was in 1866!

Super blood moon in 2015, but it wasn’t a blue moon! Photo credit: Casey Davis

So what is a super blue blood moon?

It is in fact a combination of three separate lunar events:

  1. A super moon occurs when the moon is closest to the earth. This is known as the moon being at perigee, and means that the moon can appear up to 7% bigger and up to around 14-15% brighter.
  2. A blue moon occurs when a full moon happens twice during one calendar month.
  3. A blood moon is the effect caused by a lunar eclipse, when the sun, earth and moon align such that the earth shadow from the sunlight covers the moon giving it a red tinge.

Sadly here in the UK we won’t see the blood effect as we are outside the area to see a visible eclipse, but viewers in Australia, China and the USA should fare better.

How can I view the super blue blood moon?

The super blue blood moon will be visible during the night and is perfectly safe to look at with the naked eye, unlike a solar eclipse. You might even be able to get a good photo or two! If if is cloudy where you are in the world and you can’t see the moon, you can follow NASA’s live stream of it here.

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Posted in News, Space
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