Cloudy skies threatening NZ's view of the super blue blood moon

Delia Watkins
January 31, 2018

"If you're outside on Tuesday night, you'll be able to see the "super" part and the "blue" part, even though it's not really blue".

A blue moon normally occurs about once every two and a half years. A supermoon is about 14 per cent brighter than usual.

"Weather permitting, the west coast, Alaska and Hawaii will have a spectacular view of totality from start to finish", said Johnston.

"And it'll be at least partially visible in all 50 US states â€" though the views will get better and better the farther west you live. A Super Moon happens when the moon's orbit is closest to Earth during a full moon, and a Lunar Eclipse occurs when the moon is in the Earth's shadow. Sunrise in Mid-Michigan on Wednesday also will occur before the lunar eclipse happens.

So why are we calling it a blue moon? Maximum eclipse, which is when the moon is closest to the center of the shadow, will happen at 5:29 a.m.

A "blood moon" is another term to describe a lunar eclipse.

The spectacle will hover less than 10 degrees above the western horizon at that time, which could make it hard to see if mountains are in your line of sight.

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A "blue moon" simply has to do with the calendar.

"It's the first blue moon lunar eclipse in North America in 150 years, so that's kind of rare", said St. Albert astronomer Murray Paulson, who planned to view it.

Nasa said: "While the Moon is in the Earth's shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a "blood moon".

"For everybody west of the MS, they will see their moon covered by the shadow of the earth".

Skies should be clear Wednesday morning, allowing for optimal sky conditions, but Central Texans may run into a problem when viewing the eclipse: time of day.

If you don't feel like going outside to watch the eclipse or if there's too much cloud cover where you live, NASA is hosting a live stream of the celestial event on NASA TV and at www.nasa.gov beginning at 5:30 a.m. ET.

Information from Paulson suggests that the full eclipse will end at 7:07 a.m., with the moon back to its regular non-apocalyptic self at 9:08 a.m. Thus, there will be five lunar eclipses through the year, with the longest one in the past 100 years occurring on July 27.

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