‘Super blue blood moon’ will be visible in the U.S. on January 31

Posted at 9:20 AM, Jan 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-24 11:20:47-05

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Americans can enjoy a special celestial event at the end of the month.

NASA says a “super blue blood moon” will be visible in the early morning hours on Wednesday, Jan. 31st.

The full moon will be special for multiple reasons:

  • It’s the third in a series of “supermoons,” when the Moon is closer to the Earth and is about 14 percent brighter than usual.
  • It’s the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.”
  • The 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.”

Photo courtesy of NASA

NASA says viewing the eclipse may be challenging in the eastern time zone, with the best viewing in the western U.S.

“The eclipse begins at 5:51 AM ET, as the Moon is about to set in the western sky, and the sky is getting lighter in the east,” said Gordon Johnston, program executive and lunar blogger at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

The Moon will enter the outer part of Earth’s shadow at 5:51 a.m. EST, but it reportedly 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, according to NASA.

“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—make sure you have a clear line of sight to the horizon in the west-northwest, opposite from where the Sun will rise,” said Johnston.

The next lunar eclipse will be on Jan. 21, 2019 and will be visible throughout all of the U.S.