Get ready for the Super Blue Blood Moon in January

Federico Mansilla
Diciembre 31, 2017

That's because the January 31 supermoon will coincide with a total lunar eclipse, which will give the moon a reddish glow because of the sunlight reflected by the atmosphere.

The first of the two supermoons will appear in the sky on New Year's Day, and the second one will be glowing on January 31.

A supermoon occurs when a full moon is at its closet orbital point to Earth, appearing up to 30 percent brighter and up to 14 percent larger than when the moon is at its furthest point in its orbit.

Those two supermoons are part of a trilogy of supermoons that began on December 3.

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Scientists say the best time to view a supermoon is right after moonrise and before sunrise, when the moon is sitting on the horizon. This makes the moon look even larger compared to other objects appearing against the night sky, such as buildings and trees.

But that's not the only label of January 31's moon - that full moon also happens to be the second full moon of the month, an event that is often referred to as a "blue moon". Another nickname will come into play here, as totally eclipsed moons are sometimes called "blood moons".

During a lunar eclipse, the moon moves into Earth's shadow, so the only light reaching the moon's surface is reflected off the Earth's atmosphere. The moon loses the brightness normally caused by the reflection of the sun's light and takes on an eerie, reddish glow. This means the 31st's supermoon will be a "super blue blood" moon, according to NASA.

Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is safe to view with the naked eye, so there is nothing to fear if you are captivated for a long stretch by the night sky.

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