"Super blue moon" on January 31 - Know what it is

29 January, 2018, 05:47 | Author: Yolanda Murray

Blue Moons are not as rare as the saying "once in a blue moon" suggests.

While the moon is in the earth's shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a "blood moon", Gordon Johnston, programme executive and lunar blogger at NASA Headquarters in Washington, NASA said in a statement.

This type of eclipse occurs when the sun, earth and moon are aligned in a straight line and the earth is between the sun and the moon.

It refers to a total lunar eclipse because, when the moon is completely eclipsed it takes on a reddish colour. In fact, it should look considerably more orange than usual thanks to a total lunar eclipse.

According to NASA, the lunar eclipse will begin at 5:51 p.m. These occur once every 2.7 years, because the number of days from new moon to new moon is a bit less than a typical calendar month; 29.53 days instead of 31 or 30 days, according to Space.com. It'll be a long wait for skywatchers in the U.S. as Johnston predicts the next visible lunar eclipse will be on January 21, 2019.

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Like Earth, half the moon is illuminated by the sun at any one time.

The rapid change in temperature that will occur on the moon when it slips into and out of Earth's shadow Wednesday will allow Elphic's team to leverage heat-sensing equipment to gain a better understanding of the moon's surface.

January 31 is a date South Africans will surely want to remember - sadly, they won't be outdoors comfortably seated in a camping chair with binoculars and telephoto cameras and tripods.

To do this, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will attempt to map temperatures as the moon slips into the shadows.

If you've got a good imagination, the best view would be from the moon, he says. Although these increases are hardly noticeable to the eye, it is nice to gaze up and know the Moon is near its closest point to Earth, an altitude of around 224,000 miles (360,000km). Hold it up to the horizon and the moon should be about that high in the sky. Because of the eclipse, however, this particular moon will appear dimmer.

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A lunar eclipse, however, does involve the shadow of the Earth.

This marks the second full moon of the month of January, also called a "blue moon". Enjoy it while it lasts because the moon will quickly set at 7:53 a.m.

Because of its relatively close proximity to the Earth, the celestial body's surface appears a lot bigger when a supermoon occurs.

In the case of a lunar eclipse, the sunlight that makes it around Earth passes through our atmosphere and is refracted toward the moon. "Obviously, the farther west you go, the more likely you're going to be able to see it". Many parts of Asia witnessed that event as it happened on December 30.

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