January 31, 2018 Total Eclipse of the Blue Moon: Facts
On Wednesday, January 31, 2018 the Moon will be totally eclipsed for 1 hour and 16 minutes. Here are some things you should know about this total lunar eclipse.
Taking pictures? Share them with us!
1. A Super Blue Blood Moon
- Supermoon: The Moon will be quite close to Earth during the eclipse, so it will look bigger in the sky compared to an ordinary Full Moon. Because of this, many sources are suggesting that the January 31 Full Moon is a Supermoon.
- Blue Moon: The Full Moon on January 31, 2018 will be the second Full Moon in January or, as many people call it, a Blue Moon. A Blue Moon has two distinct definitions: It can be the third Full Moon in a season of four Full Moons, or, like in this case, it can be the second Full Moon in a month.
- Blood Moon: Total lunar eclipses are sometimes called Blood Moons due to the red glow the Moon takes on during totality.
Because of these three events, many people are now calling this eclipse a Super Blue Blood Moon.
By the way, the January 31, 2018 Blue Moon is noteworthy on one more account: it is the first of two Blue Moons in 2018. Years with double Blue Moons, where two months have two Full Moons, are rare—they happen only about 3 to 5 times in a century. The next year that has two months with two Full Moons each will be 2037. The last time this occurred was in 1999.
2. First Eclipse of the Year
The January 31, 2018 total lunar eclipse is the 16th total lunar eclipse since 2001, the beginning of this century, which will see 85 total lunar eclipses.
3. Some People in the US Will Get Front Row Seats
People in parts of central and western United States and Canada will be able to see totality—from start to finish—in the early morning hours of January 31, 2018, weather permitting.
Those on the East Coast will miss most of the eclipse but will be able to see a partial lunar eclipse just before the Moon sets.
After this, the next opportunity for people in mainland USA to see a total lunar eclipse will be on January 20/21, 2019.
4. Early Morning, Evening, and Night Eclipse
While people in western North America will be able to see the eclipse in the early hours of January 31, 2018, before sunrise, those in Asia will be treated to an eclipsed Full Moon in the evening of January 31, 2018 after the Moon rises.
In Australia and New Zealand, the eclipse will be visible in the night. Those in locations following Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), Australian Central Daylight Time (ACDT), Australian Central Standard Time (ACST), and Australian Western Standard Time (AWST) will see the maximum eclipse take place before midnight on January 31.
5. No Need for Eye Protection
Total eclipses of the Moon are spectacular events and are easy to see with the naked eye. Unlike solar eclipses, which require protective eyewear, a lunar eclipse can be viewed without specialized eye protection. Just step outside, look up at the sky, and enjoy!
6. It Will Be Followed by a Partial Solar Eclipse
Solar and lunar eclipses tend to follow each other—a lunar eclipse always takes place two weeks before or after a solar eclipse. The January 31, 2018 total lunar eclipse will be followed by a partial solar eclipse on February 15, 2018.
7. It Is Part of Lunar Saros Series 124
Lunar eclipses tend to occur in 18-year long cycles called Saros cycles. In lunar month terms, a Saros cycle lasts for 223 synodic months. Lunar eclipses separated by a Saros cycle share similar features, including the time of the year and the distance of the Moon from the Earth. Eclipses that are separated by a Saros cycle are included in a Saros series.