One of the rarest of lunar phenomena, a “super blue blood moon,” will be visible just before dawn on Wednesday, January 31 – for the first time in 152 years.
Gordon Johnston, program executive and lunar blogger at NASA headquarters in Washington, said this moon is special for three reasons. It’s the third in a series of “super moons,” when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit — known as perigee — and about 14 percent brighter than usual, he said. It’s also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.” The super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse. While the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a “blood moon.”
The NASA website reports that for viewers in the New York City region, the Moon will enter the outer part of Earth’s shadow at 5:51 a.m. But Johnston said it won’t be all that noticeable. The darker part of Earth’s shadow will begin to blanket part of the Moon with a reddish tint at 6:48 a.m. EST, but the Moon will set less than a half-hour later.
“So, your best opportunity if you live in the East is to head outside about 6:45 a.m. and get to a high place to watch the start of the eclipse,” Johnston said. “Make sure you have a clear line of sight to the horizon in the west-northwest, opposite from where the Sun will rise.”