A 'super blue blood moon' eclipse is coming Jan. 31. Here's how to see it.
You might want to set your alarm early the morning of Wednesday, January 31st for what NASA calls a lunar trifecta: a pre-dawn 'super blue blood moon.'
The January full moon is special for three reasons:
It’s a supermoon! That means the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit, known as perigee, and about 14 percent brighter than usual. To the average observer though, you really won't notice the difference in size or brightness.
It’s also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a 'blue moon.' The first full moon of the month was on January 1st.
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.' Why is the moon reddish? During a total lunar eclipse, when the moon is submerged in Earth’s shadow, there is a circular ring around Earth – the ring of our atmosphere – through which the sun’s rays pass.
Sunlight is composed of all the colors known to man. As sunlight passes through our atmosphere, the green, blue and violet portion of the light spectrum is filtered out while yellow, orange and especially red bend around the earth and onto the moon' surface.
Unfortunately, residents along the east coast will not see the blood moon phase because the moon sets before totality. Along the Carolina coast, we will only see a partial eclipse. It begins at 6:48 am, but the Moon will set less than a half-hour later at 7:12 am meaning we will not see totality that begins at 7:51 am.
Your best opportunity is to head outside about 6:45 a.m. and get to a high place to watch the start of the eclipse. Make sure you have a clear line of sight to the horizon in the west-northwest, opposite from where the Sun will rise. As the eclipse begins, you'll see a quadrant of the moon darken.
Unlike a solar eclipse, no special viewing precautions are necessary!
As far as the weather goes? It will be mostly clear with temperatures in the mid-20s at daybreak. Bundle up!