Tonight, most of the world will be able to watch the ultimate celestial lunar treat – a rarest of the rare event that rolls up three different lunar events – blue moon, supermoon and total lunar eclipse into a single mega extravaganza; this really happens once in the blue moon and you don’t want to miss it!
Stargazers, sky gazers, moon gazers or anyone will be treated with a celestial trifecta: A supermoon, a blue moon and total lunar eclipse occurring all at once – tonight – January 31, 2018. So let’s just call it a “super blue blood moon”, shall we? Nomenclature aside, the trifecta treat is occurring on January 31 and it will be visible from the entire western hemisphere. So basically, supermoon means the moon will be relatively closer to earth, hence it will look larger than it generally would. Blue moon or blood moon means the moon that shines bright as the second full moon in a month. And last, total lunar eclipse, means the moon will be completely bathed up in the shadow of Earth – also leaving it with a reddish-orange tinge. It is literally a triple treat.
So this means, tomorrow, it will be blue moon, but the moon will actually be reddish in colour. Also, it will be supermoon event, but Earth will darken the entire supermoon with its shadow! Ironic much, or what! The moon will actually be the closest to Earth and hence, it will be about 14% brighter and bigger tomorrow – which is visibly noticeable. On the other hand, Blue moon is not really too rare and hence it is not taken as seriously and scientifically as eclipse or supermoon – but because it is clubbed with the other two, it really is super rare. How rare? The last time all three of these were combined was back in 1866 and it is unlikely to happen for a century or two.
If you want to watch this rare grandiose lunar event, which you really should, and you are in India – well the eclipse will start at 17:18 IST and it will reach totality at 18:21 hour and will remain in totality till 19:37 IST. After that, the total eclipse will end and the moon will begin to come out of the shadow of earth – which means it will be partial eclipse ending at 20:41 hours. So the total lunar eclipse will last for 1 hour 16 minutes precisely – an enough time window for anyone to be able to take out a couple of minutes and admire the beautiful rare natural events. You won’t require any special equipment or even binoculars and it will be visible through naked eye. You definitely don’t want to miss an event that is occurring after 152 years and won’t happen for indefinite time (which will certainly be longer than anyone of us would be alive) – or do you?