Early tomorrow morning, our half of the globe will be able to witness a rare super blue blood moon. Now what exactly does this mean and why is it a big deal?
Super Blue Blood Moon combo
This Super Blue Blood Moon is the culmination of many events coming together at once. It will be a combination of a full Moon, a lunar eclipse, a blue moon, and a super moon, which is a pretty rare thing to have occur all at once.
What is a Lunar Eclipse?
A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, moon, and earth all align and the moon is on the far side of the earth. This casts a shadow on the Moon by the earth, resulting in what we call an eclipse. When this happens there is also a small gravitational pull exerted by the gravity of the moon, which creates a pull on the surface of the earth’s oceans, resulting in higher than normal water levels, or King Tides.
What is a Blood Moon?
When the moon moves into Earth’s shadow, also known as the umbra, it doesn’t turn pitch black. The moon will usually turn red due to a process called Rayleigh scattering, in which atmospheric molecules from Earth will scatter blue wavelengths of light while allowing red ones to pass.
So why will this be a Blue Moon?
The simple answer is that a Blue Moon is the terminology used to describe a month in which a full moon occurs twice. Since the average cycle of a full moon is 29.5 days, we only usually end up with one, but sometimes when the dates align it is possible for two.
Add in a Super Moon to top it off
The final piece to this puzzle is the super moon. Since the moon’s orbit is not a perfect circle, and is more oval in shape, there are instances where the moon will be closer to earth than other points. The only distinction this will have on is is that it will appear a small amount larger, and will create a little extra of a King Tide effect on the Earth.
Who is getting the King Tides?
Due to the location of where the moon and earth are aligning right now, it looks as if the West Coast, Hawaii, and Australia are going to see the biggest addition to their higher tide. This could cause major beach erosion with the addition of extra water added to the surf. For more information on the exact causes of King Tides, see our article here.
When to see the Super Blue Blood Moon
If you’d like to view the Super Blue Blood Moon you have a few options. NASA will be live-streaming the event beginning at 5:30am Jan 31st. You could also wake up a little earlier than normal and check it out yourself:
Victoria, Australia – 2:51am-7:50am
Toronto, Canada- 5:51am-7:51am
South Florida- 6:45am
The last time this phenomena occurred was in 1866, so make sure you get up for this once in a lifetime viewing!