NASA: 'Super blue blood moon' to shine in January 2018


Posted at Dec 30 2017 03:32 PM

NASA: 'Super blue blood moon' to shine in January 2018 1
A supermoon as seen from Ilocos Norte in this file photo from November 2016. Photo by Jessica Felipe

Rare lunar events will mark the entry of 2018 as two supermoons are set to shine on the first and last evenings of January, with the finale expected to have an "extra special" red glow, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said on its website.

A "supermoon" is a full moon that appears 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than the usual full moon. It appears when the moon orbits closest to Earth during its full phase.

The "wolf moon" or the first full moon of the year will be a supermoon, NASA said. It follows the opener of the supermoon "trilogy"- as NASA put it - which was seen in early December. 

"You almost feel as though you could reach out, grab the glowing orb, and drop it into your coffee cup," NASA said.

But moon-gazing will be twice the fun in the grand finale by the end of January, when a very rare "super blue blood moon" will appear.

"Sometimes the celestial rhythms sync up just right to wow us," NASA said.

A "super blue blood moon" is a "supermoon", a "blood moon", and a "blue moon" all happening in one night.

A blue moon is the second full moon in a month, while a blood moon is seen when a full moon temporarily turns red during a total lunar eclipse.

"The January 31st supermoon will feature a total lunar eclipse, with totality viewable from western North America across the Pacific to Eastern Asia," NASA said.

"The Moon will lose its brightness and take on an eerie, fainter-than-normal glow from the scant sunlight that makes its way through Earth’s atmosphere," NASA added.

The space agency said it would be best to view to natural phenomenon when the moon rises or sets over the horizon.