If you live in the western United States and the sky cover cooperates, you are in for a rare celestial treat on Wednesday, January 31, 2018. The early morning hours on Wednesday, is the timing for the trifecta known as a Super Blue Blood Moon. This combination for the moon is as fantastic as it sounds. It will be the second full moon we’ve seen in January and for the first time in 152 years, a supermoon, blue moon, and total lunar eclipse will coincide.
So just what is a Super Blue Blood Moon?
Let’s break it down, starting with the Super part.
A super moon, is, a full moon near the perigee of the moon’s orbit around the earth.
The moon’s orbit around the earth is elliptical, one side (perigee) is about 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the other (apogee). When the moon is full and closest (perigee) to the earth it will look 14% bigger and 30% brighter than full moons that occur at the farthest (apogee) point in the moon’s orbit.
A Blue Moon is defined as a second full moon in a calendar month. The first full moon of January, known as the Full Wolf Moon, occurred on January 2, 2018. The second full moon of the month is on January 31, 2018.
A “Blood Moon” refers to a total lunar eclipse. It’s called a “Blood Moon” due to the reddish color the moon takes when it passes through Earth’s shadow.
Weather permitting, and in the western U.S., totality begins at 4:51 a.m. PST and is greatest at 5:29 a.m. PST Wednesday.
Stages of the January 31, 2018 "super blue blood moon" (weather permitting) are depicted in Pacific Time with "moonset" times for major cities across the US.
The lunar eclipse or alignment of the sun, moon and Earth will last one hour and 16 minutes, and can be seen early Wednesday before dawn across the western United States and Canada.