Friday, December 29, 2017

January will bring two supermoons, a blue moon, and a total lunar eclipse

Written by Karen Hao
Dec. 29, 2017

Visible supermoons—full moons that appear when the moon is at its closest orbital point to Earth—aren’t very rare. Having three in a row certainly is.

And that’s exactly what astronomy fans are being treated to this winter.

The first supermoon appeared when the moon swung by Earth 26,500 km (approximately 16,500 miles) closer than usual on Dec. 3. It will reappear as a visible supermoon on New Year’s Day 2018 and again on Jan. 31.

Visible supermoons appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter than full moons that occur at the farthest point in the moon’s orbit. If you only have time to catch one episode of the trilogy, NASA recommends catching the last one, which will be extra special.

Not only is the second full moon of a month considered a blue moon, the Jan. 31 supermoon will also feature a total lunar eclipse, with totality visible from eastern Asia across the Pacific to western North America.


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