Published: Sat, January 06, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

'Lunar trifecta' to adorn morning sky on January 31

'Lunar trifecta' to adorn morning sky on January 31

The US will miss out on the full spectacle as the eclipse will happen too close to the Moon setting. Not only was it a full moon but it was a super moon that was 30% brighter and 14% bigger than the "ordinary" full moon.

It's hard for our eyes to distinguish these small changes in size when the Moon is high amidst the vastness of the night sky.

According to space.com observers in the Central Time Zone will be able to see the moon turn red starting at around 4:51 a.m. and will turn blood red as it enters totality before it sets minutes later at 7:03 a.m. just before the sun rises. You nearly feel as though you could reach out, grab the glowing orb, and drop it into your coffee cup. The Moon is the closest of these celestial witnesses to your birth and some even argue, the most powerful.

Unfortunately, just looking at the sky on January 31 will not guarantee a view of the lunar eclipse. Lunar eclipses don't occur every month because the plane of the lunar orbit is slightly tilted relative to the plane of the Earth's orbit, so the Earth, sun and moon don't always line up to put the moon in Earth's shadow.

Once in a Blue Moon
Once in a Blue Moon

Although 1866 was the last time this incredible event happened, you won't have to wait too long if you miss it this year - there will be another one December 31, 2028. And the supermoon will take place on the night of January 30, which is technically one day before the moon reaches peak fullness, but even NASA is willing to call the event a supermoon nonetheless. Think of how the Moon affects the tides of the Earth....it is a very powerful force that greatly colors our world with all her moods and light.

The Moon will lose its brightness and take on an eerie, fainter-than-normal glow from the scant sunlight that makes its way through Earth's atmosphere.

Early that morning, about 3:45 a.m., a total eclipse of the moon will occur. Some people call the second full Moon in a month a Blue Moon, that makes it a super "blue Moon.' Blue Moons happen every two and a half years, on average". Soon, we'll all be treated to something even better - the first Super Blue Moon Eclipse in 150 years.

Sometimes the celestial rhythms sync up just right to wow us. On the three dates marked, step out into the moonset or moonrise and look up for a trilogy of sky watching treats! Heed your calendar reminders.


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