Rare celestial trifecta set for Wednesday morning
On Wednesday morning, you can wake up and look up to a rare phenomenon. The night sky will reveal a super blue blood moon as three celestial events coincide.
Most days, the moon is nearly 238,855 miles from Earth, but during this super moon it will be approximately 223,068 miles away, according to NASA. During a super moon, the moon can appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than usual.
After a New Year’s Day full moon, a second in January will occur on Wednesday morning. This is called a blue moon because it is the second full moon in a calendar month. A blue moon occurs once every few years; however, in 2018 it will occur twice—in both January and March. The next time there will be two blue moons in one year is 2037.
These two events will also coincide with a total lunar eclipse, or blood moon, on Wednesday, Jan. 31. A total lunar eclipse occurs when a full moon passes into Earth's shadow, making the moon appear red—hence the nickname blood moon.
How unusual is this occurrence? The last time there has even been a blue moon lunar eclipse visible in the United States was March 1866! However, in that instance, there was no super moon. The next super blue total lunar eclipse is on January 31, 2037.
To catch all of this in the Baton Rouge area, set an early alarm and grab a cup of coffee. You will want to head outside, somewhere with a clear view to the western sky. The earth’s shadow will touch the moon beginning at 4:51am. By 6:15am, the earth’s reddish shadow will be noticeable on the moon and good viewing is expected until 6:30am. Beyond this, civil twilight will make for tougher viewing until moonset just after 7:00am. The forecast calls for clear skies. For more information, CLICK HERE.
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