January 2018 Brings Super Moons, Blood Moon, Blue Moon

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You'll have another chance to catch a supermoon on January 31.

If "go big or go home" is your motto for ringing in the new year, you're in good company: The moon is showing up to the party too, treating skywatchers to several events in January.

A Blue Moon is when two full moons occur in the same month.

The difference between a supermoon and a regular full moon isn't always easy to tell - though if you could put a supermoon next to a micromoon, a full moon that occurs when our satellite is at the part of its orbit furthest from Earth, you'd see the difference.

"The next full "Supermoon" will appear a bit more than 7% bigger and a bit brighter than an average full Moon, but casual stargazers will not recognize this at their first glance", says Gianluca Masi, astrophysicist, scientific director of the Virtual Telescope Project. "Folks in the Eastern United States, where the eclipse will be partial, will have to get up in the morning to see it", said Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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After that, another supermoon will start on the night of January 30 but won't hit its full phase until around 8:30AM EST on January 31. These sites include a few areas in eastern Asia and eastern Australia, where people will not see the first full moon until 2 January. A super blue blood moon will rise in the sky on January 31, 2018, and the combination of not one but three extraordinary circumstances will make it one of the most interesting skywatching opportunities in years. The difference adds up over time until year will have 13 lunations as opposed to 12.

Blue Moons are not as uncommon as it is believed. The distance between the Earth and the moon changes continously.

It happens every 29 and a half days, and each month's full moon has a special name. Lunar eclipses do not happen every month due to the plane of Earth's orbit is somewhat tilted.

The eclipse will cover the face of the moon, turning it dark, as the Earth blocks the light of the sun from the moon. For the viewers of 31 January lunar eclipse, from some places, this will not be entirely visible because it starts near moonrise and is only visible on Earth's night side. When the supermoon is witnessed to the low extent, it appears vast. When that happens, the moon seems larger in the sky and also significantly brighter than it normally does. During a supermoon, the moon can appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than usual.

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