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2017-2018

January 30, 2018

Super Blue Eclipsed Full Moon to be viewable Wednesday morning

It looks like the weather is going to cooperate Wednesday morning, January 31, and we will get to see a sight that hasn't happened for 152 years - the appearance of a Super Blue Eclipsed Full Moon.


As the moon revolves around earth, it does not do so in a perfect circle. Sometimes the moon is a little closer to earth, a point called Perigee, and sometimes it is a little further away, a point called Apogee. Wednesday morning the moon becomes full at 7:29 a.m. central time, at which time it also is at Perigee. Perigee full moons appear about 14% larger and 30% brighter than regular full moons, which is what makes tomorrow's moon a Supermoon.   


On top of that, it is also a Blue Moon. During normal years there is one full moon per month leading to a total of 12 full moons during the calendar year. However, because it takes the moon 27.3 days to orbit earth and 29.5 days to complete a set of lunar phases (i.e. new moon to new moon), sometimes you end up with two full moons during a calendar month. That is what happened this month. The first full moon occurred on January 1, and because there are 31 days in January, we are having a second full moon on January 31. If a second full moon happens in one month, we call it a Blue Moon. This year is extra special because there will be two Blue Moons - one in January and one in March. That will give us a total of 14 full moons for 2018.


As it turns out, there will also be a lunar eclipse the morning of January 31 as well. As you look toward the eastern horizon Wednesday morning, the eclipse will start around 6:20 a.m. local time as the moon moves into earth's shadow. The moon becomes full at the same time totality begins at 7:19 a.m., then the moon will set at 7:34 a.m., thus the moon will be eclipsed when is sets Wednesday morning. It is unclear if we will get to see a "blood moon" or not as the sun will be rising in the east which might wash out the effect.


So get out the morning of Wednesday, January 31 and enjoy the Super Blue Eclipsed Full Moon of 2018.