The Most Spectacular Eclipse of 2018 Is In Less Than a Week

Dr. Michael Pierce, University of Wyoming associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, said the "super" designation is a result of the elliptical shape of the moon's orbit.

And fear not luna-tic's, Virtual Telescope will be streaming the event live for those of you unable to view it up close. This means western time zones will have a better chance of seeing the super blue blood moon in all of its glory. The Super Moon is when it's orbit around Earth takes it closest to Earth. In order for a full moon to earn the right to be called a super moon it has to be within 226,000 miles from Earth. The moon moves from the nearest (perigee) to the farthest point (apogee) from one of the focci where the earth is placed.

When will the next super blue blood moon occur? The next supermoon will be January 20, 2019. A second full moon in one calendar month is sometimes called a Blue Moon.

Stargazers are privy to a celestial triple threat at the end of this month.

Wednesday's supermoon won't be quite as large and bright as the full moon that kicked of January, but that one was blocked by clouds in West Michigan. "That is mostly due to it being slightly closer to us, but also the moon always looks brighter in the winter". But instead of the moon slipping between the Earth and sun, the much more common lunar eclipse takes place when the moon passes through Earth's shadow, turning the moon a dusky red. It's like a sunset, where light waves are scattered in different directions by our atmosphere and we see the orange and red light.

"If you were standing on the moon looking back at the earth, you would see all the sunsets of the world falling on you", Aufdenberg said. In addition, it also occurs during a lunar eclipse.

While the January 31 lunar eclipse will be tough to see from some parts of the United States, there are other spectacular heavenly displays in store for Americans in the future. But don't worry if you miss it, lunar eclipses happen on average a couple of times a year. It will be completely in the umbra at 6:51 a.m. and the bloody totality begins.

This would be a good time to explain each.

Once in a blue moon there's a reason to get up in the middle of the night.

The clunky name refers to three separate lunar events that will coincide in the small hours next Wednesday. For it to occur, the planets had to align.

In less than a week, a "super blue blood moon" will grace the skies for the first time in more than 150 years. For the eastern USA, the last visible one was May 31, 1844.

A super moon, or supermoon, happens when the moon is within a certain range of our Earth. The best views will be in Hawaii, Alaska, Australia, and Eastern Asia, where early risers will be able to watch the entire eclipse.

In Florida and for the rest of the East Coast, stargazers only will witness a partial eclipse. At about 6:15 a.m., the Earth's reddish shadow will be clearly noticeable on the moon.

  • Joe Gonzales