Published: Fri, January 05, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

First blue supermoon lunar eclipse in 150 years coming in January 31

First blue supermoon lunar eclipse in 150 years coming in January 31

This usually happens about every 2.7 years, though because February has only 28 days, a number of regions will get another blue moon in March 2018.

Robotic lunar exploration is about to heat up, too.

The supermoon pictured above the Hudson River and the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, pictured from Nyack, New York, on January 1.

The wolf moon glows behind a dog-shaped lantern in Dalian, Liaoning province, China, on January 1. The moon will appear bigger and brighter in the sky. Here's a handy animation from NASA's visualization team showing the changing face of the moon-with all its wobbles and lighting phases-throughout the coming year.

In a Blue Moon, the moon doesn't actually appear blue; instead, the name indicates that it is the second full moon in a particular month. The lunar eclipse happens to be the first lunar eclipse of 2018 as well.On January 31st this year something rare will happen to the moon.

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You may have been in too fragile a state to courageous the outside world and see the moon itself after a night of heavy celebrating on New Year's Eve. For the first time since 1866, a total lunar eclipse will occur with the blue moon, or second full moon of the month, which-like the one visible on New Year's Day-will also be a supermoon.

This confluence of events has not happened since the second half of the 19th century.

Total eclipses will be visible from everywhere on the Earth that will have night, and the duration of each visible eclipse will vary from place to place.

NASA has announced that the supermoon at the end of the month will feature a total lunar eclipse. To answer that question, we consulted the reference book Canon of Lunar Eclipses, 1500 B.C. - A.D. Before 2017, there was an 8 percent partial eclipse on December 31, 2009, but, for a total eclipse of a Blue Moon, we have to go all the way back to March 31, 1866.

How unusual are Blue Moon eclipses?

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