On the night of the last day of January, about half of the world will witness a rare astronomical phenomenon: a super blue blood moon! As fascinating as it sounds, it is supposedly look spectacular. What’s even better? We can witness it with naked eyes; we don’t need a fancy telescope to see it!
A Super Moon
It appears super-sized
A super moon occurs when a full moon happens when the moon reaches its closest point on its orbit with Earth. Because it is closest, it looks the biggest. This is because its orbit with earth is oval. A super moon looks 14% bigger and 30% brighter than a micro moon, a smallest full moon.
Summary: Super Moon refers to a full moon that looks the biggest of the year.
A Blue Moon
It does not look blue.
Blue moon gives off an impression that the moon will appear blue in color. However, the name has nothing to do with its appearance. A blue moon refers to the second full moon that appears in a month. Usually, a full moon arrives to us once every month. However, because of its cycle of revolution spans 29.5 days, it arrives twice a month at times. Blue moon happens once every 2.7 years on average; it is not so common occasion! For this month, some part of earth including Korea saw the first full moon on the new year’s day and we will see another on January 31.
Summary: A blue moon means the second full moon of a month.
A Blood Moon
The beauty of a total lunar eclipse
When the sun, Earth and the moon line up in such order, a total lunar eclipse takes place. During a total eclipse, the sun’s light still passes through Earth’s atmosphere and arrives on the moon. So, the moon does not completely disappear but shines red because blue light filters out of the atmosphere on the way.
This does not happen often since the moon’s path with Earth is slightly tilted by 5 degree. A lunar eclipse happens about twice a year. For 2018, they are in January and July. However, the moon will disappear from the sky in the early evening in July. In January in Korea, partial eclipse will begin around 20:48 and lead to a total eclipse at 21:51. This continues until 23:08. Then, a partial eclipse starts again and ends at 1:10 the next day. Korea is a great place to witness this 3 events altogether!
Summary: The sun, Earth and the moon must line up along the same plane for a total lunar eclipse to happen. Instead of totally disappearing, the moon appears red because of red light that arrives on its surface.
For the first time in 150 years, these three elements combined at the same time will occur in two days! Make sure to mark your calendar and time. Enjoy the show!