‘Super Blue Blood Moon’ lunar eclipse on January 31

Posted at 6:43 AM, Jan 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-22 08:50:21-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — On January 31 the moon will look a bit different, according to NASA parts of North America will experience “Super Blue Blood Moon” eclipse.

That’s quite a headline…so what exactly does that mean?

A “Supermoon” is generally defined when the moon is slightly closer to the Earth and appears slightly larger in the sky (although this is difficult to see with the naked eye.)  A “Blue Moon” is when there’s a second full moon in a month.  Despite what you’ll probably see float around on social media, the moon won’t actually appear blue.

Photo courtesy of NASA

The coolest thing about this celestial event is the lunar eclipse component with this.  In the graphic above, you’ll notice the moon will gain a red tint in the early morning hours.  Unlike the big solar eclipse last year, this event relies on the passage of the earth’s shadow and the position of the sun.  The earth’s shadow creates the red hue, and you’ll start the eclipse with a dark shadow on one side of the moon before it turns red.  Locally, our moon sets around 8 A.M. that day, so we’ll get to see it in it’s full red glory for around 10-15 minutes.