So if you are like many that missed out on the 1st supermoon of the year, aka the Wolf moon, then I got great news for you. There will be another celestial event that will wrap up the month with a bang. This event will top the Wolf moon so mark your calendars. Yes, sync them up stat because you don’t want to miss this one.
On January 31 a rare trilogy of celestial events will grace the sky in the form of a Super Moon, Blue Moon, and Blood Moon. The last time this phenomenon occurred was well over 150 years ago in 1866. Needless to say, truly an event to experienced first hand. How fortunate are we have recently witnessed a Total Solar Eclipse less than 1 year ago and now get to see this?
Not sure what these terms mean even though you’ve heard it all before? No clue what actually makes a supermoon breathtaking? We’ve all heard the term before but it may not be quite sure what it actually means or why they’re so cool. Let me break it down so you can truly understand why this will be epic and school others with your new found knowledge.
A supermoon is a visible moon that appears 14% bigger than a full moon. Basically, an epic full moon. The best time to see and enjoy the supermoon is either at moonrise or during moonset when the moon will be the brightest. This is also the best time because the moon will be at its biggest size allowing you to scale and compare with landmarks. A supermoon is most impressive when you can scale it with a landmark or building especially if you are already familiar with them.
If you are not able to catch the moon during sunset you still have time to catch this celestial experience during sunrise. I learned this by accident when I got to witness the beautiful supermoon of January 1 at moonset early next morning. What a sight to behold against the iconic buildings of Downtown Nashville. 2 important reasons held me back from documenting this, an iPhone will never capture such a stunning site as well as our very own eyes and I was commuting in traffic. Driving and using a mobile device is never a good idea. So I savored this experience the old fashioned way, by making my very own memory!
We’ve heard countless songs about blue moons and popular phrases but don’t really know what it is. Simple. A blue moon is the second full moon to occur in a calendar month. Sorry to disappoint but a blue moon is not really blue. Would be pretty neat if it was though! They are far and few in between but not as rare as we think they are. A blue moon typically occurs every two and a half years. There are only 2 blue moons set to happen during 2018, on January 31 and March 31. After that, the next blue moon will occur on October 31, 2020.
A blood moon is a moon that appears to be red and can be witnessed during a total lunar eclipse. Total lunar eclipses can only occur during a full moon when the sun, earth, and moon are perfectly lined up. If any of these variables are not synced up then the event is considered a partial lunar eclipse. Utter perfection!
The moon doesn’t have a light of its own but instead reflects light so when it is not able to do so it glows instead of going pitch black. During a blood moon, the moon will appear to glow a vibrant shade of red as the Earth moves between the sun and the moon. This is the same concept that allows for colorful sunsets, sunrises, and blue skies when the light bends through the atmosphere. The red light tends to travel easier through the earth’s atmosphere during this transition so it dominates the spectrum.
The next blood moon we will get to witness will be on January 31 during the total lunar eclipse. This total lunar eclipse will not be visible everywhere on earth but many will get to experience. Here in Nashville, we will only be able to witness the partial lunar eclipse. Mark your calendars with the details on the partial Lunar Eclipse visible in Middle Tennessee on January 31.
This celestial event is another amazing phenomenon to witness while we have the opportunity. Viewing a lunar eclipse is way easier than viewing a solar eclipse. You will not need any special eyewear or prep any instruments to protect your eyes from permanent damage. This celestial event will allow you to view only with your naked eye. If you want to see the details better than a telescope or binoculars will allow you to really get in close. I feel more than fortunate to have been able to witness the Total Solar Eclipse last year in Nashville.
150+ Years In The Making
Either way, this rare celestial event is one for the books for each on their own are far and few in between. You don’t want to miss this because all of these events will not be coinciding anytime soon. The next Blue Moon is set for March 20, 2018, but the next Super Moon won’t be until January 20, 2019. The next total lunar eclipse will not even be visible here in the continental US. The ideal times to witness this coveted trilogy will vary by location. Plan the best time according to your zipcode with the Moonrise and Moonset Calculator so you don’t miss out.
Looking forward to witnessing the upcoming Super Blue Blood Moon on January 31. Are you?
Join me on my journey!
– Featured image courtesy of Benjamin Child