Coming Next Week: Super Blue Blood Moon

The full'wolf moon that lit up the sky in January this year

That's where the phrase "blood moon" comes from. The last time this happened was in 1866 and the next time it will happen is in 2028. This isn't just a super moon, and it's not just a blood moon. It's getting to be that we need a lunar scorecard!

But a blue moon isn't blue at all, and Wednesday's moon will be no exception. In literature it first showed up around 1600 A.D.in England during the time of William Shakespeare. "This occasional add-on was needed to keep the tradition sequence of names - Wolf Moon, Strawberry Moon, Harvest Moon, and so on - in sync with the calendar". "There is no harm to the eyes when watching a lunar eclipse". A blue moon actually has to do with mathematical odds. Unfortunately in the eastern United States, the moon will set in the sky before the total eclipse begins. With this definition our next blue moon is in March, leaving February with no full moon this year. Since there are 29.5 days between two full moons, we usually only end up with one per month. We already had one on the first of this month and our second will be January 31, making it a blue moon. In fact, the display only occurs about once every 2 and a half years. But that won't be our only blue moon in 2018. When the full moon phase coincides with the nearest point (perigee), we call it Super Moon.

While New Yorkers will still be able to appreciate the "super" and "blue" parts to the phenomena, the timing of the eclipse (the "blood" part) makes it harder for people on the East Coast to see it. This three-fold scenario is rare; the last time a supermoon and a lunar eclipse occurred at the same time was 150 years ago. That refers to the total lunar eclipse that results in the moon's reddish or copper color as it is illuminated by sunlight filtered and refracted by the earth's atmosphere. So, some people are calling the coming lunar display a "super blue blood moon". The eclipse will take place early Wednesday morning.

This happened with our full moon earlier this month on January 1 and will again on January 31. Not this time though. Totality will be during the 5 a.m. hour. During an eclipse, the booth glows red due to the lineup of the sun, Earth, and moon.

Not only will the full moon be a bloody blue moon, it will also be considered a "super" moon. Nolle arbitrarily defined a super moon as a full moon which occurs when the moon is within 90 percent of its closest approach to Earth in any given orbital cycle. The moon orbits our planet from between 233,000 miles and 253,000 miles away. The moon's 27.3 day orbit around the Earth is not quite a ideal circle, but rather an ellipse. He lives in Ottawa so he will see the moon moving into the shadow just as the moon sets. In my book at least I wouldn't exactly call that super, but who am I to get in the way of media hype!

"Nearly a decade earlier, "Blue Moon" had been used in the Maine Farmers' Almanac to mean the third full Moon in a season containing four of them (rather than the usual three)".

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