Triple threat: 'Super blue blood moon' to rise January 31

Herbert Rhodes
January 29, 2018

NASA's stages of the super blue blood moon with Pacific Time. We've got the lowdown.

NASA says the super blue blood moon will be visible early Wednesday in Western Canada, so long as it's not obscured by clouds.

If you are into space, the moon, and rare phoneme then you are in luck!

During the eclipse, the moon will glide into Earth's shadow, gradually turning the white disk of light to orange or red. In addition, this is when the moon is close to the horizon and appears larger than it does high in the sky.

A "super blue blood moon" happens when a blue moon occurs at the same time as both a super moon and a blood moon.

Where can I see it?

Because the sun rises just 16 minutes later, they'll only be able to see the beginnings of the eclipse.

Those in the Middle East, Asia, eastern Russia, Australia and New Zealand will catch the event during moonrise on the last day of the month.

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The Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit is not planning any public observations of the lunar eclipse, since it is occurring in the wee hours when it is hard to find an appropriate venue with parking and restroom facilities that is open. Back in 1979, astrologer Richard Nolle coined the term "super moon" which has now become widely used and loved. The moon's orbit is not perfectly circular so its distance from Earth varies; the moon sits anywhere between 252,000 and 226,000 miles from Earth. That's when the moon slides into the earth's shadow. That's the time between any particular phase of the moon, for example the time between two full moons.

This spectacle occurs when the earth comes directly between the sun and the moon. It's also the second full moon during a single month - which is called a "blue moon".

This is because Native American tribes kept track of the months of the year by the lunar calendar.

During the total eclipse, the moon, the second full moon of January, will have a reddish hue because of the way the atmosphere manipulates light. A similar event took place 55 years ago. This effect is commonly referred to as a blood moon.

What is a blood moon? Scientists say the difference between the full moon and the almost full moon is imperceptible to most observers.

And even in the Earth's shadow, enough sunlight will pass through the atmosphere to illuminate the moon.

The orbital plane of the Earth around the Sun, corresponding to the circle around our sky that the Sun appears to follow, is called the Ecliptic, because that's where eclipses happen.

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