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Space and Physics

Here's How To See Tomorrow's "Super Blue Blood Moon"

author

Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

clockJan 30 2018, 17:49 UTC

Red moon rising. NASA/Bill Ingalls

What, pray tell, is a “super blue blood Moon?" It sounds a little like a rare Pokémon attack, but no, it’s actually a type of total lunar eclipse, one that hasn’t occurred – coincidentally, we might add – for 150 years.

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As it is beautifully explained here, it’s a Moon that’s closest to Earth in its orbit (a “supermoon”), and it’s a rare second full Moon of the month (a “blue” moon). Additionally, thanks to the fact that during a total eclipse only red-yellow light gets through our atmosphere to the lunar surface, it’ll look a little coppery-red too (a “blood” moon).

So, apart from its temporary paint job, the full Moon will appear bigger and brighter than it otherwise would. For those that are especially keen to see this cacophonously named phenomenon in real-time, here’s how.

First off, when it’s happening: that’ll be on January 31 of this very year. When the lunar eclipse is taking place in your area – as defined by these helpful time bands, courtesy of NASA – look up, and hope for the best.

NASA

If you happen to live in a clouded area or you can’t get outside for some reason, you can stream the celestial dance live, again thanks to NASA, which begins at 5.30am EST.

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Similarly, thanks to the orbital ballet’s parameters, if you live in the UK, large parts of Africa and/or South America, you won’t be able to see the lunar eclipse either, so please jump on over to NASA’s live stream.

Those in parts of Europe and Asia, as well as India and most of North America, will see a partial lunar eclipse.

Per National Geographic, those living on the western North American coastline, as well as those in China, Japan and – thanks to some Daylight Saving Time wizardry – parts of Australia, will be best placed to view it. You lucky humans will be able to watch the entire event, from beginning to end, without any of that pesky sunlight ruining the theatrics.

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The timings vary a lot, and we’d advise looking at that above chart to work out when to look up, based on your location.

NASA

If you’re on the West Coast, and you’ve got the best view, then the eclipse begins when the Moon shifts into the darkest segment of our world’s shadow, the umbra, at 3.48am local (Pacific) time. Sweeping through totality and back again, the credits will roll at 7.11am PST as the Moon escapes the umbra. Totality will begin at 4.51am, peak at 5.29am, and conclude at 6.07am PST.

Whether you’re watching it on a device or you’re fortunate enough to be using your very own peepholes, we hope you enjoy the show.

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[H/T: National Geographic, NYT, The Verge]


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