Looking at the moon on Jan. 31, Wednesday, will be a rare sight, that day is scheduled to receive a supermoon, blue moon, and total lunar eclipse. This is the first time since March 1866 that a blue moon total lunar eclipse has happened in the United States.
The year 2017 had only one supermoon. The month of January will be having its second supermoon next week.
The second full moon in one month is called a blue moon. Blue moons usually occur every two and a half years on average. The moon, however, will not appear to be color blue despite the name of the occurrence.
Supermoons occur when the full moon is at the closest point of its orbit to the Earth — its perigee. This can make the moon appear to be 14 percent larger, and 30 percent brighter than when it is at its furthest point. In terms of distance, the moon will be 223,068 miles away instead of the average 238,855 milles.
This lunar eclipse will be visible in the United States with the West Coast having the best view of the lunar event. Those in the central and eastern portions of the country will only get to witness a partial eclipse because the moon will set before it occurs fully.
The lunar eclipse is set to last three and a half hours, it will begin at 3:48 a.m. PT and sets at 7:12 a.m. PT. The moon will have already set for those in the central and eastern portions of the United States, that’s the reason why those living there will only witness a partial eclipse. The totality of the eclipse is set to last 77 minutes.
"The lunar eclipse on Jan. 31 will be visible during moonset. Folks in the eastern United States, where the eclipse will be partial, will have to get up in the morning to see it," said Noah Petro, research scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center. "But it's another great chance to watch the moon."
During the eclipse, the moon will appear a dark, red color. This type of moon can sometimes be referred to as a blood moon, or even a snow moon as it is by some Native American tribes.
This is the second supermoon this month. 2017 only experienced One supermoon and that was in December. Capturing a picture of the moon may not prove difficult, but one thing to keep in mind is to catch a picture that provides the perspective of how large it looks.