A plane flys in front of a “super moon” or “wolf moon” on its approach to London Heathrow Airport on Jan. 1, 2018.
Mark the date, the blood moon or blue supermoon is coming in a rare lunar event that happens only every 150 years.
Three separate celestial events — a supermoon, a blue moon and a full lunar eclipse — will occur simultaneously on Jan. 31.
Just weeks after 2018’s first supermoon on Jan. 1 and 2, this astronomical rarity of events is being called a super blue blood moon eclipse.
This particular blue moon will likely look red in some areas, because of the total lunar eclipse which can give the moon a red tinge, giving it the name blood moon.
This confluence of events has not happened since the second half of the 19th century. And January’s blue moon will be followed by another blue moon in late March.
They are also in a supermoon trilogy, which began last month.
The phenomenon “supermoon” occurs when the moon becomes full on the same day it is at or near its closest point in its orbit around Earth.
NASA said this year’s first supermoon, which illuminated skies across the world, was the “biggest and brightest” one for 2018.
It appeared 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than the supermoon on July 27, 2017, with pictures of it posted on social media by people around the world.
Also called a “Wolf Moon,” because in early times it appeared when wolves howled in hunger outside the villages, its arrival caused tidal surges worldwide.
The full moon on Jan. 31 is called a blue moon because it is the second full moon in a calendar month. This only happens every two to three years on average, giving rise to the saying “once in a blue moon.”
Even rarer is the fact there will be two blue moons in the first quarter of 2018, and they are in a series of three supermoons.
Following the two full moons occurring in January, the calendar month of February will have no full moon.
In March, however, there will be two full moons, with the blue moon on March 31.
NASA is encouraging people to use these rare lunar events as a chance to study the moon.
“The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the moon, not just that once but every chance they have,” said Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre.
- A bright first moon promises rain and a bountiful harvest; a red-tinted moon means a dry year
- A growing moon and a flowing tide are lucky times to marry
- A halo around the moon predicts wet or stormy weather