On January 31, which is today marks a total lunar eclipse, but this is coinciding with supermoon and a blue moon as well. The event is being termed as a super blue blood moon and is a rare lunar event for star-gazers. According to NASA, this celestial event is a lunar trifecta where three particular events are colliding, resulting in the Super blue blood moon. Those living in the US, Alaska and Hawaii will see a pre-dawn “super blue blood moon,” and will enjoy the best view of this lunar eclipse.
Lucikly, residents in India will also be able to witness the super blue blood moon. So what exactly is the Super blue blood moon phenomenon and what will be the timings for India? Also, why is this Super blue blood moon such a rare event? Here are all your questions about this rare phenomenon answered.
What is this Super blue blood moon?
Super moons occur when the full moon coincides with the Moon’s closest orbit point (perigee) to the planet. During a super moon, the Moon appears upto 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter, according to NASA. Remember most celestial bodies in our solar system have an elliptical orbit. These include the orbit of the Earth around the Sun, as well as the orbit of the Moon. The farthest distance between the moon and the Earth is termed ‘apogee’, while the perigee is the nearest point between planet Earth and its satellite.
The reason this January 31 event is a Super blue blood moon is because this will also be a total lunar eclipse, when the satellite has reddish tinge to it. It is also the second total lunar eclipse in the month of January 2018, and according to NASA, a second total lunar eclipse during a month is called ‘blue moon’. Thus the Super moon has become a “super blue blood moon.”
What time will one able to watch the Super Blue blood moon? How can I watch it in India?
The super blue blood moon will be visible on January 31. On this day, the natural satellite will rise at 5:51 AM EST, which is 4:21 PM IST and set at 11:08 AM EST or 9:38 PM IST. Those residing in Siberia, Australia, New Zealand and northwestern US and Canada will be lucky to observe the entire event. Major sections of Africa, South America and Europe will not be able to enjoy the event.
For stargazers in India, the phenomenon will be visible. The country’s first viewers will be from the north-East, who will be able to witness this event between 4:21 PM and 5:18 PM IST. Rest of India will get a chance to see this Super blue blood moon between 5:18 PM IST and 6:21 PM IST. The west coast and parts of Rajasthan will see the celestial event from 6:21 PM IST to 7:37 PM IST on January 31 itself.
What is a total lunar eclipse?
An eclipse is when three celestial bodies which are Sun, Moon and Earth are aligned in one path. A total lunar eclipse is where the moon is blocked entirely by the Earth’s shadow, as the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon. Totally eclipsed moons are called blood moons because they tend take on a reddish hue due to how Earth’s atmosphere scatters blue light, but allows red wavelengths to pass through. This year January 1, 2018 also saw a Supermoon rise.
What is a blue moon?
When a full moon occurs twice in a month, the second full moon is called a blue moon. This also led to the term ‘Once in a blue moon’, as it is relatively rare to witness.