Pop quiz: Have you ever heard of the expression “once in a Blue Moon?” Of course, you have! We all use it to describe events that just don’t happen all that often. Now, let’s make this a little bit harder…
Have you ever heard the expression “once in a super blue blood moon?” Of course, you haven’t, because no living person has ever seen or probably even heard of this ultra-rare celestial event. The last super blue blood moon occurred way back in 1866, but on January 31st, we are all going to be lucky enough to see this natural phenomenon for ourselves.
What is a super blue blood moon?
Before we dive headfirst into the perfectly-aligned peculiarities that constitute a super blue blood moon, let’s break down the spectacle one celestial event at a time…
First up is the supermoon. A supermoon transpires when a full moon is closest to Earth in orbit. The aptly-named term results in a brighter, larger-appearing moon. Now, it may sound relatively straightforward, but like anything that happens in our galaxy, it certainly is not.
You see, the moon does not orbit the earth in a perfect, even circle; in fact, it’s distances as it loops our planet is affected by tides and gravitational forces that either pull or push it away from the earth. This process results in a change in distance by the end of every lunar month (roughly 29.5 days), which means we normally only see about 4-6 supermoons on average, annually.
Next up is the Blue Moon. We’ve already hinted at the fact that Blue Moons happen just a tad more often than what can be inferred from the old saying, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t amazing.
A Blue Moon is either the second full moon in a calendar month or the third full moon in a season that has four full moons. Although the moon isn’t tinted with a blue hue, it is an extraordinary event, nonetheless. Typically, seasonal Blue Moons only occur every 2.5 years or so.
Last is the blood moon, or the lunar eclipse as it is most commonly known. Lunar eclipses are visible from all reaches of our planet and hit when the earth, sun, and moon are in perfect alignment.
When this happens, each covers one another, a unique positioning which makes the earth’s shadow block the sun’s light, which then reflects off of the moon. This colors an almost blood-red façade on the moon’s surface—and, boy, does it look cool!
So, if you’ve been paying attention, then you’ll know what to look out for on the night of January 31st (or February 1st depending on where you live)—an ultra-bright, big, RED, moon!
We don’t know about you, but we know we’ll be outside, staring up at the sky to see this super blue blood moon for ourselves! To learn even more about this much-anticipated celestial event, as well as how to best view it from your part of the globe, be sure to watch the video below.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the upcoming blue moon eclipse. Are you planning to stay up to see it? Have you ever seen a blood moon before? Do you live in the path of the totality?