Blood Moon 2018: What causes a Blood Moon? What causes a lunar eclipse? | Science | News

Viewers can expect to see a blue moon – the second full moon in a calendar month – orbiting closer to the Earth than usual, making it seem up to 14 percent larger in the sky.

If that wasn’t enough there will also be a total lunar eclipse, which is often described a blood moon because of the way the moon turns a gorgeous coppery red.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves directly behind the Earth’s shadow, or umbra, meaning it cannot receive any light from the Sun.

The phenomenon occurs only every 150 years and it will be visible in its entirety from Western North America across the Pacific to Eastern Asia.

India will be able to view the lunar eclipse on Wednesday January 31 and it will last for one hour and 16 minutes in the country.


The lunar eclipse will coincide with a supermoon – also known as a blue moon as it is the second supermoon in a calendar month.

The moon will appear 30 per cent brighter and 14 per cent bigger on Wednesday making it a ‘super moon.’

What is even more unusual about the January 31 blue moon is that it is coupled with a total lunar eclipse for the first time in more than 150 years.

Today’s lunar eclipse also marks the end of NASA’s ‘Supermoon Trilogy’ and will take on a reddish hue during the eclipse – hence it is known as the blood moon.

NASA said: “The January 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 – known as perigee – and about 14 percent brighter than usual.

The super blue moon will be visible across the entire globe tomorrow, but only select parts on Earth’s nightside will catch a glimpse of the eclipse. 

Astronomer Brad Tucker, from the Australian National University, declared that the red appearance of the moon is caused by light bending and filtering properties our the atmosphere.

He explained: “That red appearance is really the sunrise and the sunset of the Earth falling on the Moon.”

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