On January 30th and 31st, North America will be treated to a once-in-a lifetime celestial event!
The moon on these dates is being dubbed the Super Blue Blood Moon which sounds impressive… but what does it all mean? We’ll break it down for you.
What makes the moon “super”?
We have a super moon when the moon is closer than normal to the earth. At this point in the moon’s orbit, it will seem slightly larger and brighter. On average, the moon is 238,000 miles from the earth. The moon will reach its closest point at 4:54 a.m. EST on Jan. 30, at a distance of 223,069 miles from Earth, according to Space.com. The moon doesn’t become 100% full until Wednesday morning, but it will still appear full and close enough to be impressive Tuesday night.
What makes the moon “blue”?
This doesn’t actually mean the moon will look blue; that just means that it is the second full moon to happen within 1 month. The first full moon in January occurred on the 2nd (which was also a super-moon). The moon will be full again on the morning of January 31st, making it the second in the month, hence the blue moon!
What makes the moon “blood”?
The last part of this moon’s title is referring to a lunar eclipse. The moon will have a red-orange tint (that’s where the term “blood” comes in) during the lunar eclipse, because it is passing through the earth’s shadow. The sun’s refracted light gives it it’s blood-like tint.
Unfortunately for us on the eastern coast, the total eclipse will be taking place after the moon sets on Wednesday (the 31st) morning. So, North Georgia will miss most of the good stuff, which leaves us with a partial eclipse shortly before the moon sinks below the horizon. The further west you are in North America, the more likely you are to catch more of the eclipse.
How to view the Super Moon on Tuesday Night:
When we have a super blue blood moon, we can only see the difference in the moon’s size when it is close to the horizon, or behind something our eyes can use as a reference. So, the best time to see it is close to moon-rise or moon-set. The moon rises on the 30th at 5:20 pm EST to the east. This is before the sun actually sets, but it should be dark enough to get a good viewing of the super-moon.
Find an area with good views of a horizon to the east and you are good to go! Even if you aren’t able to go view hunting on a Tuesday night, look to the east and you’ll be able to see the super moon through the trees or above the buildings.