Super Blue Blood Moon 2018

by Jill Schroder

The evening of January 31st, 2018 will permit some lucky ones of us to witness a Super Blue Blood Moon.  It will be total lunar eclipse as well.

Let’s take a moment to stop and drop into wonder and awe for our many glorious, intriguing celestial experiences.  I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the sky, the night sky in particular.  We had a telescope in my home growing up, and I can remember my dad taking me out as a kid to watch special things in the sky, to learn about the constellations, and to study the moon as it waxed and waned.  It was part of why I later took Astronomy which opened my eyes and heart even wider to our incredible cosmos.  If you want to “dip and delve”, check out these images from the Hubble Space Telescope gallery!

What exactly is a Super Blue Blood Moon?  A full moon is called Super when it appears quite large in the sky due to it’s being close to the earth on its orbit, its perigee. It really can look larger and grander. Super indeed!

Blue Moon is the name given to a second full moon within the same month. The first one was on January 1.  We’ve all heard the phrase “once in a blue moon”, meaning “rarely”.  There will only be two blue moons this year.

And Blood?  That name describes a moon that is in the shadow of the earth. Not totally blocked out by the earth, but fully in its shadow, which gives it the reddish cast.  Hence the “blood” in Super Blue Blood Moon.

I just learned that the eclipse part of this natural event will force NASA to shut down its lunar spacecraft equipment temporarily.  Apparently, eclipses put a strain on spacecraft equipment because they rely on solar power, and the sun is naturally blocked or dimmed when the moon is in shadow.

Since I’m not likely to be able to see it — Vancouver has still more rain predicted for the coming week — I’ll ask those of you who are so fortunate, to take a special, deep, look for me at the Super Blue Blood Moon!


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