Super blue blood moon eclipse 2018: What is a supermoon? | Science | News

January 31 has a real wow factor in terms of celestial events combining a supermoon, blue moon, blood moon and total lunar eclipse.

This will be the final supermoon in NASA’s ‘supermoon trilogy’ in recent weeks.

The first one was December 3 last year followed by the second on January 1.

What is a supermoon?

A supermoon occurs when a full moon coincides with its closest approach during orbit to Earth, known as a perigee.

The term was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979.

During the phenomenon, the full moon appears about 14 percent and 30 percent brighter that it would during regular full moons.

Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said:  “The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the Moon, not just that once but every chance they have!”

According to , the moon will be 223,068 miles from Earth, rather than the usual 238,855 miles.

What is a super blue blood moon?

January 31 is not only a supermoon but a super blue blood moon with a lunar eclipse.

The space agency said: “With the total eclipse, it’ll be a royal spectacle indeed: a ‘super blue blood’ Moon.

“Sometimes the celestial rhythms sync up just right to wow us. Heed your calendar reminders.” 

Despite the name, blue moons aren’t actually blue but white.

The name is given to the second full moon in a calendar month. They’re very rare, happening on average only every two years. 

On January 31, the blue moon will coincide with a lunar eclipse and as it does so, it will briefly take on a reddish hue – the blood moon.

The best place to see it will be in central and eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia, according to

Unfortunately there won’t be viewing opportunities in the UK as the eclipse – taking place at about 1pm GMT will only be visible before sunrise or after sunset.

Sadly, if you do miss it then you’ll have some time to see something this spectacular again.

The next blue moon total lunar eclipse won’t be until December 31, 2028, according to NASA.

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