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A rare Super Blue Blood Moon will happen on January 31, 2018, here's what it will look like
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A rare combination of events will bring about a 'Super Blue Blood Moon' on January 31, 2018. Here's what it is and what you can expect to see.
The event is basically a big lunar eclipse, nothing more, but still worth seeing.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Moon will be something to see on January 31, 2018. On that night, a rare, 'Super Blue Blood Moon' will occur, an event that hasn't happened in 150 years. It is a rare event, but it isn't as dramatic as it sounds. Yet, it will still be worth seeing.
One night before, on January 30, the Moon will pass closer than usual to Earth. This will coincide with the full moon, which makes it a 'supermoon' event. A supermoon looks about 14 percent larger in the sky than when it is at its farthest. However, that 14 percent difference is barely noticeable. In fact, you probably won't be able to tell any difference between the supermoon and any other full moon.
However, the Blood Moon is a different story.
While the name 'Blood Moon' is sometimes applied to full moons in the fall when hunters stalk prey by moonlight, it is often used to describe lunar eclipses, which do cause the Moon to change color and even turn red to black.
On the night of January 31, 2018, the Moon will pass through Earth's shadow, and its color will change from a normal white-blue-tinted color to a coppery red, then dark red, then black. After more than an hour, the Moon will turn back to normal as it emerges from behind Earth's shadow.
Lunar eclipses typically happen twice per year, give or take one here and there. They only happen when the moon is full. However, with the eclipse coinciding with the supermoon, this one will be slightly closer and slightly larger in the sky. Again, it will be difficult for most to tell the difference, but it's still worth seeing.
A timelapse of the moon during a lunar eclipse. This is what skywatchers can expect to see on January 31, 2018.
The eclipse will be most visible from the Western United States and Hawai'i. Unfortunately, people on the other side of the Earth will see nothing. People on the East coast of the U.S. will only catch a few minutes of the eclipse starting since the moon sets just after the event begins. The Pacific, Asia, New Zealand and parts of Australia are well situated for the event. Europe and Africa, as well as the Middle East, will miss the event entirely.
Millions of people will also miss the event because they will be asleep, which in the western U.S. will be early in the morning hours before dawn. January 31 is a Wednesday, which is the middle of the workweek, so few people will have the luxury of missing their sleep.
For people who pay attention to tides, they will be higher than usual on January 31.
The event will be worth seeing if people are able and willing to be up at the appropriate hour where they live. However, you should not expect to see more than you would during any other full lunar eclipse.
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