National Space Times UK

National Space Times UK

Super Blue Blood Moon - Whats the fuss about? - January 31st 2018

The last time all of these events occurred simultaneously in the Western hemisphere was 1866. 

This event is not to be missed – if you are able to see it, a total lunar eclipse will take place on January 31, 2018. The moon will also appear as a super moon with perigee being on 30th of January 2018. The first blue moon eclipse of 2018 will be making an appearance too, NASA have described it as a “lunar trifecta”.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes within Earth's shadow on the opposite side to the sun. An eclipse will begin and earth’s shadow will darken the moon slightly. This shadow (Earths Umbra) will cover part of the moon which causes it to appear dark red – brown in colour. The colour typically depends on atmospheric conditions. Something known as Rayleigh scattering will cause an effect to make the Moon appear reddish, the same effect that causes sunsets to appear reddish, and the refraction of that light by Earth's atmosphere into its umbra.

The simulation to the right shows the approximate appearance of the Moon passing through Earth's Umbra. The northern portion of the Moon being closest to the centre of the shadow, making it darkest, and the most reddish in appearance.

Visibility of the moon will rely on your location on the earth, the Pacific Ocean will be in full view of the moon at the time of the eclipse. In eastern and central Asia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Indonesia, most of Australia and Siberia will get front row seats of this lunar trifecta in the evening sky. Further west into western Asia in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Indian subcontinent the eclipse will have already begun as the moon rises. Unlucky for us in the United Kingdom! Here at Space Times we will keep you in the LOOP for upcoming Lunar eclipses as this one is just the first ascending node eclipse of the lunar eclipse series sets, from 2016-2020, being a part of Saros cycle also there will be more for us to turn our telescopes towards. Along the west coast of the United States the total phase begins at 4:51a.m. PST, the farther east you are, the closer the start of the partial phases will coincide with moonset. The duration of the total phase will be 77 mins, the moon tracking through earth’s shadow through the southern part, so during totality, the lower limb of the moon will appear brighter than the darker upper limb. 
 

@SpaceTimesUK 

- by Blake Hopley - Director and Editor

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