New year, blue Moon

Jon Howard
December 30, 2017

The supermoon's moon is a little bigger and brighter, but people can't eternally tell the difference, and it is a great reason just to go out and gaze at the sky.

Bundle up and look up on the evening of January 1 for the first full moon - and supermoon - of the month. During a supermoon, the moon can appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than usual.

Most months have just one full moon, because the twenty nine day cycle of the moon matches up pretty well with the length of calendar months.

A Blue Moon is when two full moons occur in the same month. The first supermoon of 2018 is called the 'Full Wolf Moon, ' and it will be visible starting early in the night on New Year's day, while the second supermoon is what is known as a 'blue moon'.

Most days the moon is almost 238,855 miles from Earth, but during the supermoon it will be approximately 223,068 miles away, according to NASA.

At the end of January, skywatchers will be able to glimpse a rare phenomenon: a super blue blood moon.

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Native Americans knew the full moon of January as the Wolf Moon, a time when wolves roamed the edges of the village in search of whatever food they might find.

You'll have another chance to catch a supermoon on January 31. These happen about twice a year, when the the moon lines up with the Earth and Sun so that Earth totally blocks the sun's light that we see reflected on the moon.

And, that super/blue moon on January 31 will have a red sheen to it, because it will be part of a lunar eclipse, according to NASA.

Supermoons occur due to the fact that the moon is in a slightly elliptical orbit with Earth, rather than a flawless circle. The celestial event will be viewable in totality from western North America to Eastern Asia.

However, this time around the blue moon will occur on the same night (or morning, depending on where you are) as a total lunar eclipse.

Supermoons occur when a full moon coincides with the time that the moon is closest to Earth.

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