Once in a blue moon

27 January, 2018, 16:41 | Author: Devin Moran
  • The full'wolf moon that lit up the sky in January this year

He said that moon revolves around the earth in an elliptical orbit. Because of that ellipse shape, every month the moon has a minimum distance to the Earth at just over 221,000 miles called perigee, and its maximum distance dubbed apogee at almost 253,000 miles from our terrestrial home.

The Jan. 31 full moon is special for three reasons: it's the third in a series of "supermoons", when the moon is closer to Earth in its orbit and about 14 percent brighter than usual.

The celestial event will involve a blue moon that's also supermoon. The closest point in its orbit is called the perigee. Then, all you have to do is look to the west.

People living in certain parts of the Western Hemisphere will be able to see a reddish and unusually large moon glowing on the celestial stage early in the morning on January 31. But just what and how rare are super-, blue and blood moons? It takes just 29 days for a full lunar cycle to pass-full moon to new moon and back again-which is a smidgen shorter than a calendar month. Aufdenberg said the event promised to be "a real zinger".

"Lunar eclipses are much more common, of course, than solar eclipses, such as we saw last August", Pierce said. And it gets the name "Blood Moon" simply because during the eclipse, it appears dark red. During this period we can also see different phases of the moon, including the Full Moon when the entire disc of the Moon is illuminated by the Sun. Stargazers further west will see more of the action.

Viewers in Whatcom County will have to wake up before sunrise to see the eclipse. But you should prepare yourself for the potential to be underwhelmed by what you see from the roof of your apartment building. Unfortunately, right as the moon makes it to the middle of the Earth's shadow it will also be setting below the northwest horizon, with the sun rising shortly thereafter in the east. The eclipse will be visible before sunrise on January 31 for those in North America, Alaska and Hawaii.

NASA A NASA graphic showcases a timeline for the upcoming eclipse.

To take a picture of the supermoon or the lunar eclipse with a smartphone, tap on the moon on the screen and hold your finger in place to lock the camera's focus.

The term "blue moon" has nothing to do with color. Because of that we usually only have one full moon in any given month. But that means that the next month, February, is without a full moon. In fact, the display only occurs about once every 2 and a half years. People in the United States will have to get up before dawn to see it - while the Middle East and Asia will share the more convenient evening show as Australia and New Zealand.

The famous astrophysicist Neal deGrasse Tyson commented on his Facebook page at the time of the December 2017 supermoon, making a joke about the use of the term "super" in reference to the moon.

The phenomenon known as Blue Moon, the second full moon in a calendar month, will occur on January 31.


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