January 31, 2018, early morning sky gazers witnessed a rare celestial event: a Super Blue Blood Moon. What made the viewing truly special was a lunar trifecta: Blue Moon, Super Moon, and a total lunar eclipse happening simultaneously. According to Live Science, a Super Blue Blood moon has not been visible from North America in 150 years.
According to NASA, the first feat, a Blue Moon, is not very rare. A Blue Moon happens when there are two full moons in a month. In the Americ, s a full moon was visible on January 1st and January 31st making the second full moon a Blue Moon.
Next, we need a Supermoon. Believe it or not, the moon’s orbit is not a perfect circle. The orbit wobbles thanks to the gravitational pull of the sun and nearby planets. A Supermoon happens when the orbit of the moon is closest to the Earths orbit during a full moon. During a Supermoon, the moon is visibly brighter and may appear about 14% larger, according to the NASA website.
The third celestial phenomena is a Blood Moon. A Blood Moon happens during a total lunar eclipse when the only light reflected from the moon is from Earth. Many factors may affect the color of the moon during a total lunar eclipse but it often appears red due to particulates in the atmosphere.
The Super Blue Blood Moon was visible on all continents but visibility was best throughout North America, Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia. The trifecta truly happens once in a Blue Moon but you can catch the next lunar eclipse visible in North America on January 19th, 2019.
Words and Photos: Joey Miller.