January starts with wolf supermoon, ends with supermoon lunar eclipse

30 December, 2017, 00:14 | Author: Sam Montgomery
  • Osaka University  NASA

While the term itself is fairly new, supermoons can transpire multiple times per year, with three lining up consecutively in late 2016.

Mother Nature is preparing to offer a nice little treat to the hungover people of the world on the first day of 2018. The second full moon in a month is called a Blue Moon by some people, and considering that there's going to be a total eclipse on January 31, the third supermoon is a "super blue blood moon".

If "go big or go home" is your motto for ringing in the new year, you're in good company: The moon is showing up to the party too, treating skywatchers to several events in January.

The new year will be off to a celestial start with the appearance of a bigger and brighter supermoon - this time nicknamed the "wolf moon". A supermoon occurs when the moon becomes full on the same day that it reaches its perigree, the point in the moon's elliptical orbit when it is closest to Earth.

The supermoon will happen the evening of January 30.

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The difference between a supermoon and a regular full moon isn't always easy to tell - though if you could put a supermoon next to a micromoon, a full moon that occurs when our satellite is at the part of its orbit furthest from Earth, you'd see the difference.

The best time to see the full supermoon is right after moonrise, when it is just getting up above the horizon, timeanddate.com says. A blue moon occurs when two full moons happen within the same calendar month. The final installment of the supermoon series will kick off on January 31, which will be "extra special", NASA says.

In 2018 there will be two Blue Moons - one in January and one in March, February being left out without a full moon. The moon will pass into the Earth's shadow, making it a Blood Moon.

But that super blue moon will also feature a total lunar eclipse, according to NASA. The first full moon will occur in January on the night of January 1 depending upon the location.

As NASA explains it: "The Moon will lose its brightness and take on an eerie, fainter-than-normal glow from the scant sunlight that makes its way through Earth's atmosphere".


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