If you enjoyed the US total solar eclipse last year, then we’ve got a reward for you at the start of 2018. There’s going to be a total lunar eclipse on January 31, and it accompanies a “Blue Moon” for the first time because 1866.
A lunar eclipse happens when the Moon passes directly into Earth’s shadow, referred to as the umbra. This happens when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned.
What makes it excellent is that in the umbra, the Sun’s light is being refracted to its max by our atmosphere, pressing it to the red end of the spectrum (like at sunset or dawn). As the Moon enters the umbra, its surface is bathed in red light, with this occasion often called a blood moon.
Lunar eclipses only happen during a complete Moon. This lunar eclipse will take location throughout a Blue Moon, which is the name used to denote the rare instance where there’s a 2nd full Moon in a month. Thanks to Space.com, we can see that the last time a Blue Moon coincided with an overall lunar eclipse was March 31, 1866. You will not need to wait as wish for the next one, though, as it’ll occur on December 31, 2028.
Blue Moons are quite uncommon, with the last being available in July 2015– although we’ll get another one in March this year. The exact meaning of the name has likewise been muddled gradually, with some historic records suggesting the term associated to the seasons, rather than the calendar month. Lunar eclipses take place about 2 to four times each year.
In order to delight in a lunar eclipse you will need to remain in the path of totality (which lasts about 77 minutes), just like a solar eclipse. The finest places to see it will be central and eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Australia. Parts of North America must also get a look.
If you desire the specific timings you can find them here in this post from EarthSky. If you get an opportunity, it’ll certainly be worth a take a look at an occasion that actually is as soon as in a Blue Moon.