A supermoon is seen in skies over New South Wales on September 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. A supermoon occurs when a full moon coincides with its perigee, which is its closest approach to the Earth.
Fiza Pirani, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The world’s first blue moon total lunar eclipse in more than 150 years is set to make an appearance at the end of January and is the first of two total eclipses in 2018.
The second full moon of the month, also known as the “Blue Moon,” will coincide with the total lunar eclipse, often referred to as a “blood moon” because the moon appears to be a reddish or copper color when moving through the Earth’s shadow.
This combined astronomical phenomenon hasn’t occurred since March 31, 1866.
To make the celestial event even more magnificent, the blue moon on Jan. 31 will be a supermoon, a term used to describe a full moon near or at the time when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit around the Earth.
According to NASA, supermoons may appear as much as 14 percent closer and 30 percent brighter than the moon on an average night.
“Weather permitting, the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii will have a spectacular view of totality from start to finish,” Gordon Johnston, NASA program executive and lunar blogger, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, eclipse viewing will be more challenging in the Eastern time zone. 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.”
Countries in Central and Eastern Asia, as well as Indonesia, New Zealand and much of Australia will see the celestial phenomenon.