The phrase, “once in a blue moon” will be taken to a whole new level next week. If you recall, we were just graced with the appearance of a full moon to help welcome a new year on January 1; however, next week, we will be revisited – this time with a couple of exciting additions.
On Wednesday, January 31, we’ll get to experience a Super Blue Blood Moon. The upcoming supermoon is of special interest to moon-gazers because it will mark the occasion of four separate lunar events all in one night – for the first time in 150 years. To prepare you for this spectacular night, let’s break down exactly what you can expect to see.
Contrary to the expression, the moon will not actually turn blue on Wednesday. Astronomers use the term when two full moons appear in the same month. Although blue moons are rare, they aren’t as uncommon as you might imagine. According to NASA, Blue Moons take place every two and a half years (but we will see it again in March!)
We may not see blue hues, but we will not be without out-of-this-world color. Many parts of the world will see the moon change into a reddish shade just before the lunar eclipse. The red light bends as it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere and reflects on the moon’s surface causing the anticipated blood orange color.
A supermoon is a popular, non-scientific term describing the conditions in which the moon comes to the closest distance to the Earth. Because ‘supermoon’ is not an official astronomical term, there is no definition about how close the full moon has to be in order to be labeled as super, but astronomers estimate this particular moon will be 7 percent larger than usual.
During a total lunar eclipse, the moon aligns itself with Earth in a straight line, disappearing from sights because it no longer reflects light from the sun, which leaves us with a beautiful, shadow-free view.
Here at Lions Pride, we love all of the extraordinary astronomical events taking place in recent months! Remember, the solar eclipse that happened back in August? Well, between us, we may be a little more partial to the lunar eclipse as there is no serious risk of blindness from this observation.
Where do you plan to seek out the supermoon? According to Bob Bonadurer, director of the Milwaukee Public Museum’s Daniel M. Soref National Geographic Dome Theater & Planetarium, “… With lunar eclipses, it doesn’t matter where you are because the moon is so bright and visible,” so it sounds like location will not be an issue for this particular event.
Enjoy the Super Blue Blood Moon!