LONDON: People around the world are hoping for clear skies through which to enjoy a rare celestial event being called a “super blue blood moon”.
A blue moon (the second full moon in a calendar month), super moon (the moon around 14% brighter than usual at its closest stage of orbit) and blood moon (taking on a reddish tint as part of a lunar eclipse visible in some places) will combine in a trifecta not seen in 150 years.
The Jan. 31 full moon is special for three reasons: it’s the third in a series of “supermoons,” when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit – known as perigee – and about 14 percent brighter than usual. It’s also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.”
The super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse. While the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a “blood moon.”
Unfortunately for UK viewers, the January 31 eclipse will avoid the Western Hemisphere, moving instead over swathes of North America, Asia, the Pacific and Australia.
Dr Gregory Brown, astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, underlined that the full spectacle will not be visible from the UK.
He said: “Unfortunately form the United Kingdom the lunar eclipse is not visible, so for people living here whether it is or isn’t a blue moon, this coming full moon will most likely remain grey.”
The eclipse will kick off on Earth’s nightside around 10.51am GMT (5.51am EST) before it sets on a journey to the East.