Super blue blood moon: What to know about the rare celestial event at the end of January

This photo shows the Earth's shadow cast over the surface of the moon as a total lunar eclipse over the Chabot Space and Science Center observatory in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, April 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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

The event may sound like a complicated tongue twister, but it’s really just the confluence of three celestial occurrences.

A blue moon is the second full moon of a month — in January, there was a full moon on New Year’s Day and on Jan. 31 — while a supermoon is when the full moon appears larger and brighter to the naked eye.

PHOTO: Seen from Downing Street, the moon rises behind the London Eye, Dec. 01, 2017 in London. Paul Davey/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Seen from Downing Street, the moon rises behind the London Eye, Dec. 01, 2017 in London.

These two events will coincide with a total lunar eclipse, or blood moon, on Jan. 31.

PHOTO: A supermoon rises in front of a replica of the Statue of Liberty sitting atop the Liberty Building in downtown Buffalo, N.Y., Dec. 3, 2017. Julio Cortez/AP
A supermoon rises in front of a replica of the Statue of Liberty sitting atop the Liberty Building in downtown Buffalo, N.Y., Dec. 3, 2017.

Most days the moon is nearly 238,855 miles from Earth, but during the supermoon it will be approximately 223,068 miles away, according to NASA. During a supermoon, the moon can appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than usual.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when a full moon passes into Earth’s shadow, making the moon appear red — hence the nickname blood moon.

Altogether, the three events — a blue moon, a supermoon and a blood moon — will make for a spectacular show the last night of January.

PHOTO: The moon rises behind the Uppatasanti Pagoda seen in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Dec. 3, 2017. Aung Shine Oo/AP
The moon rises behind the Uppatasanti Pagoda seen in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Dec. 3, 2017.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s