25 January, 2018
The last day of January will bring a rare treat for skygazers: It's a full moon, but the second one in one calendar month, so it becomes a blue moon. Many scientists are also looking forward to this event, although they will use this opportunity to study the moon's surface during the lunar eclipse. Since the moon needs to be behind the Earth, relative to the sun, a lunar eclipse can only happen on a full moon.
New Yorkers, you're actually going to want to wake up early on Wednesday, January 31 in order to catch the super blue blood moon at 6:48 a.m. EST, which is when the moon will enter the shadow of the Earth and take on this copper color.
"Weather permitting, the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii will have a spectacular view of totality from start to finish", Gordon Johnston, program executive and lunar blogger at NASA Headquarters, said in a statement.
The moon orbits the Earth in an ellipse, not a circle.
The moon won't really shine blue in the sky-it will glow red.
It can be best seen along the West Coast, but those in the central USA and East Coast will see a partial eclipse.
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Blue moons occur about once every 2.7 years, according to Space.com, so they aren't almost as rare as one might think. Earth passes in between the moon and the sun and cuts off the sunlight, causing an eclipse.
"Sadly, obscure survey will be all the more hard in the Eastern Time zone", Johnston said in the announcement.
The eclipse will last around 77 minutes. But what exactly is a blood moon?
The surface of the moon is covered in lunar regolith - a sticky mixture of dust, soil, small and broken loose rocks, and other such material - which is estimated to be anywhere between 4-5 meters and 15 meters deep, depending on where you look on the moon. At 4:51 a.m., the lighter part of Earth's shadow will touch the moon. This is how National Geographic explains it: "Earth's dark shadow will slowly creep over the bright lunar disk as the planet moves between the sun and the moon". Not as rare as you would think, blue moons happen once every two to three years.
The partial phase will end at 11:12 p.m. and the penumbral eclipse will end at 0:10 a.m. February 1.
Mythology - Cultures from all over the world have different explanations for lunar eclipses, according to National Geographic.