‘Once in a blue moon’ happens tomorrow

HOLT, Fla., Jan. 30, 2018–Tomorrow marks a trifecta of lunar events: a super blue blood moon lunar eclipse.

But to see it means getting up before 5 a.m. and even then, the moon will begin setting before the eclipse is complete.

Tomorrow’s full moon is the second full moon of the month, typically referred to as a blue moon. Blue moons happen on average every two-and-half years.

Like the full moons in December and Jan. 1, tomorrow’s full moon is also considered a supermoon because it’ll be at its closest point to Earth, also known as perigee. At perigee, the moon appears bigger and brighter in appearance.

lunar-eclipse

And during the eclipse, when the moon enters the Earth’s dark shadow, or umbra, it takes on a deep red or copper color, hence the blood moon name.

The Eclipse

As noted earlier, to experience this lunar event, viewers need to get up well before sunrise.

The moon enters the Earth’s penumbra, the partially shaded area of the Earth’s shadow, at 4:51 a.m. CST.

Once the moon begins to enter the Earth’s umbra, the darker shadow, the lunar eclipse begins. That happens at 5:48 a.m. That’s also when the moon starts turning red.

Unfortunately for this area, moonset is at 6:40 a.m. which means as the moon begins its total eclipse phase at 6:51 a.m., it’ll be after moonset.

Because the moon will be low in the west-northwestern sky, finding an unobstructed view of the horizon will be the best vantage point to watch the show.

The eclipse ends at 8:07 a.m., far past viewing in this area.

And for the curious, the next blue moon total lunar eclipse won’t happen again until 2028.

Stephanie Holcombe

 

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