What do you get when you combine a total lunar eclipse with a super, blue and blood moon? Essentially, the most badass eclipse of 2018 — and it’s going to happen during the last week of January.
This rare alignment of three separate lunar events converges on Jan. 31. As Popular Mechanics describes it, “During the total lunar eclipse, the moon will pass into the shadow of the Earth, blocked from direct sunlight by our planet, bathing Luna in a red glow that has led to the informal name of lunar eclipse totality: a blood moon.”
The total lunar eclipse will also coincide with a supermoon, which is a full moon at its lunar perigee (or the point in the moon’s orbit that brings it closest to Earth). Supermoons are typically much bigger and brighter than normal full moons because of their closeness to Earth.
If that wasn’t enough, it’s also the second full moon of the month, which is called a blue moon. Lunar researcher with NASA Noah Petro told Popular Mechanics, “The last time there was a celestial alignment of these three things was in [Dec.] 1982. But this is definitely the first time anyone has called it a super blue blood moon.”
The perigee blue moon total lunar eclipse will be visible in the western United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, large parts of Russia and China and parts of the Middle East.
Unfortunately for the eastern part of the United States, the moon will set in the sky before the total eclipse starts. While a partially eclipsed supermoon will be visible in the hours before dawn there, you’ll need to be west of the Rockies to see the blood moon.
Totality (when the moon will be cast a blood red) begins at 4:52 a.m. PST, peaks at greatest eclipse at 5:30 am and concludes at 6:08 a.m., spanning one hour and 16 minutes.
With there being no solar eclipses in 2018, this super blue blood moon is the eclipse to see this year.
More about stargazing from ASN