It’s a triple treat for stargazers. Get ready for a lunar eclipse, a supermoon and a blue moon in unison. Such an occurrence hasn’t happened in over a century, so mark your calendars for Jan. 31 to avoid missing out on this rare celestial event.
What is a blue moon?
To put it simply: a blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month. The first occurred earlier this month (Jan. 2). Despite the popularity behind its name – “once in a blue moon” – blue moons aren’t as rare as you might think. According to Space.com, they usually happen once every 2.7 years.
WATCH: NASA will livestream the lunar event on Wednesday morning. See it here.
What is a supermoon?
This upcoming moon will also be a supermoon. What does that mean? A supermoon is a full moon that coincides with perigee – a fancy way of saving “near Earth.” When a full moon comes within around 362,146 kilometres of our dear planet, it reaches is closest approach and appears up to 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than usual. When this happens, the moon is elevated to supermoon status.
READ: The 2017 solar eclipse entranced Canadians across the country
The total lunar eclipse and “blood moon”
Jan. 31 marks the first blue moon total lunar eclipse in North America for more than 100 years.
For roughly 77 minutes, this supermoon will pass through the Earth’s shadow, casting a dazzling blood-orange hue over the moon. This is why lunar eclipses are sometimes referred to as “blood moons.” Although, in this case, you might call it a “blue blood moon.”
Who will have the best view in Canada?
Canadians residing further out in the West – in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories – will have the best chance to view the eclipse in its entirety, weather permitting. The eclipse will begin at 3:48 a.m. on the West Coast, with the total eclipse beginning at 4:51 a.m. and ending at 5:29 a.m.
Other potentially clear-viewing locations include parts of southern Alberta,Saskatchewan and the Yukon.
In the east, the eclipse will begin at 5:51 a.m. on Jan. 31. Due to poor weather conditions, the remainder of Canada will only get to witness a partial lunar eclipse. However, viewing conditions might be better for stargazers residing from Quebec City to Ottawa.
How do I watch the lunar eclipse?
Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse doesn’t require any special viewing equipment. It’s perfectly safe to watch with your own eyes, but you’re free to use binoculars and telescopes to enhance your viewing experience.
Watch the Super Blue Moon Lunar Eclipse on live stream
If you’re unable to see this stunning spectacle for yourself, then watch plugging in is a great alternative. Watch a NASA livestream of the event starting at 5:30 am EST.
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