DENVER – The New Year’s Day supermoon is about to be upstaged in a big way.
The next full moon of the year – on Jan. 31 – will be another supermoon and because it’s the second full moon of the month it’s also a so-called blue moon (but it’s not actually blue).
Oh, and there will be a lunar eclipse that day, as well.
The blue moon is special in and of itself, since it only happens about every two and a half years or so, according to NASA. Combine that with a supermoon and an eclipse and you have something really exciting; such an event hasn’t happened in more than 150 years, according to Space.com.
A supermoon occurs when the full moon coincides with the point of the moon’s orbit at which it is closest to Earth, making it slightly larger and brighter than usual. A lunar eclipse happens when the moon passes through the earth’s shadow. The phenomenon often gives the moon a reddish hue, giving it the nickname “blood moon.” So this blue moon will actually be red.
Sky watchers will be able to take in the rare lunar trifecta in the early morning hours of Jan. 31. According to space.com, the eclipse will begin at 3:51 a.m. MT and will reach its peak at 6:29 a.m.
For more tips on viewing the eclipse, head over to Space.com.