Blue Moon and ‘Blood Moon’ to align at end of January

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At the end of January, stargazers are set to witness a trio of lunar phenomena, all aligned to create an incredible view.

The second full moon of the month will occur on January 31, marking the first of two ‘blue’ moons in 2018 – and, this will line up with a total lunar eclipse, which will turn the moon a striking red color for what’s known as the ‘Blood Moon.’

Just one night earlier, the moon will reach its closest point to Earth, marking the second arrival of the supermoon this year.

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The second full moon of the month will occur on January 31, marking the first of two ‘blue’ moons in 2018 – and, this will line up with a total lunar eclipse, which will turn the moon a striking red color for what’s known as the ‘Blood Moon.’ Stock image

The second full moon of the month will occur on January 31, marking the first of two ‘blue’ moons in 2018 – and, this will line up with a total lunar eclipse, which will turn the moon a striking red color for what’s known as the ‘Blood Moon.’ Stock image

WHO WILL SEE IT?

The lunar eclipse can be seen from anywhere it is night-time, though viewers in some regions will only be able to glimpse a partial eclipse.

On January 31, the event will happen in the middle of the night, when the Pacific Ocean faces the moon.

It ‘favors the western U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii and British Columbia,’ NASA says, along with central and eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and most of Australia.

These locations will be able to see the lunar eclipse from start to finish.    

The total lunar eclipse on January 31 will be the first time an event of this kind has coincided with the Blue Moon in over 150 years, according to Space.com.

Depending on where you’re observing from, it will happen either on the night of the 31, or the morning of February 1.

In a Blue Moon, the moon doesn’t actually appear blue; instead, the name indicates that it is the second full moon in a particular month.

This time around, however, it really will change color – but, it won’t be blue.

During a lunar eclipse, Earth lines up between the sun and the moon, blocking the light that hits the lunar surface.

This casts an Earth shadow over the moon, and causes it to appear blood red or orange during totality.

On January 31, it will happen in the middle of the night, when the Pacific Ocean faces the moon.

During a lunar eclipse, Earth lines up between the sun and the moon, blocking the light that hits the lunar surface. This casts an Earth shadow over the moon, and causes it to appear blood red or orange during totality

During a lunar eclipse, Earth lines up between the sun and the moon, blocking the light that hits the lunar surface. This casts an Earth shadow over the moon, and causes it to appear blood red or orange during totality

During a lunar eclipse, Earth lines up between the sun and the moon, blocking the light that hits the lunar surface. This casts an Earth shadow over the moon, and causes it to appear blood red or orange during totality

In a Blue Moon, the moon doesn’t actually appear blue; instead, the name indicates that it is the second full moon in a particular month. This time around, however, it really will change color – but, it won’t be blue. The 'Blue Moon' will align with a lunar eclipse, turning it red

In a Blue Moon, the moon doesn’t actually appear blue; instead, the name indicates that it is the second full moon in a particular month. This time around, however, it really will change color – but, it won’t be blue. The 'Blue Moon' will align with a lunar eclipse, turning it red

In a Blue Moon, the moon doesn’t actually appear blue; instead, the name indicates that it is the second full moon in a particular month. This time around, however, it really will change color – but, it won’t be blue. The ‘Blue Moon’ will align with a lunar eclipse, turning it red

This means it ‘favors the western U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii and British Columbia,’ NASA says, along with central and eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and most of Australia.

These locations will be able to see the lunar eclipse from start to finish.

The phenomenon can be seen from anywhere it is night-time, Space.com explains, though viewers in some regions will only be able to glimpse a partial eclipse.

Viewers in New York, for example, will only be able to catch the first part of the event, as it will start just 16 minutes before the moon sets, at 6:48 a.m. local time.

A plane flies in front of a 'supermoon' or 'wolf moon' on its approach to London Heathrow Airport on January 1

A plane flies in front of a 'supermoon' or 'wolf moon' on its approach to London Heathrow Airport on January 1

A plane flies in front of a ‘supermoon’ or ‘wolf moon’ on its approach to London Heathrow Airport on January 1

A rare 'wolf moon' rises behind St Paul's Cathedral and the City's skyline, photographed from the Hungerford Bridge, London

A rare 'wolf moon' rises behind St Paul's Cathedral and the City's skyline, photographed from the Hungerford Bridge, London

A rare ‘wolf moon’ rises behind St Paul’s Cathedral and the City’s skyline, photographed from the Hungerford Bridge, London

WHAT MAKES A SUPERMOON SUPER?

As the moon orbits the Earth every month, there is a point in every cycle where the moon is closest (perigee) and a point where it’s farthest away (apogee). 

There is also a monthly lunar cycle where we can see varying amounts of the moon depending on it’s position relative to Earth and the Sun.

For a supermoon to happen, these need to line up. 

Lyle Tavernier, an expert at NASA, said: ‘Keep in mind that a 14 per cent increase in the apparent size of something that can be covered with a fingernail on an outstretched arm won’t seem significantly bigger.

‘Comparing a supermoon with a typical full moon from memory is very difficult.’ 

With the moon being as close to Earth as it is, there is a significant impact on the tides. 

When the moon is closest, the tide will be at its highest, and the same happens with a new or full moon.

This happens on a monthly basis, but occasionally the point of perigee aligns with a new or full moon and results in a ‘perigean spring tide’.

These are particularly high tides that can influence the oceans and raise sea level by a number of inches. 

The further west you go, the better the view will be, with observers in California able to see the end of totality.

A supermoon the night before will set the stage for the ‘Blue Blood-Moon,’ with the moon sitting just 223,068 miles (358,994 kilometers) from Earth.

Skygazers rang in the New Year this week with a stunning ‘wolf moon’ supermoon that was visible around the world. 

The next Blue Moon will take place on March 31. 





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