Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse - What?

By Theresa Arocena

Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 5:46 PM PDT

From Wikipedia Commons

From Wikipedia Commons

On Wednesday, January 31, 2018, the world was graced by a rare astronomical event nicknamed a “super blue blood moon eclipse.” Express revealed that the last time a super blue blood moon eclipse appeared was 150 years ago in 1866.

What is a Super Moon? defines a supermoon as ocurring when the full moon coincides with the moon's closest approach to Earth in its orbit. Supermoons make the moon appear a little brighter and closer than normal, although the difference is hard to spot with the naked eye.

What is a Blue Moon?

Colloquially, a blue moon is used as a reference for something that happens sporadically and sparingly. A Blue Moon scientifically, according to EarthSky, is the second of two full moons in a single calendar month. An older definition says a Blue Moon is the third of four full moons in a single season.

What is a Blood Moon?

Earthsky explains that  a Blood Moon is 4 totally eclipsed moons in a row. However, generally it is just a reference to the red tint that appears on the moon.

What is a Lunar Eclipse?

NASA identifies a total lunar eclipse as happening when the whole moon enters Earth's shadow. Some sunlight still reaches the moon, but first it goes through Earth's atmosphere. The atmosphere filters out most of the sun’s blue light, so the moon looks red.

Professor Tim O'Brien, from Jodrell Bank Observatory, explains the educational purposes of the event, “The details of how the sunlight we see reflected from the Moon during eclipse has been altered, scattered and absorbed on its way through our atmosphere, and how this is affected by, for example, volcanic eruptions or even meteor showers, are still being studied.”

Twitter user @eliesaaab claimed that NASA explained the event as, “You’re basically seeing all of the sunrises and sunsets across the world, at once, being reflected off the surface of the moon.”

If you missed it, don’t be sadden! There is another Super Blue Blood Moon eclipse to occur on January 21, 2019 which will be visible from coast to coast as opposed to this past one, which was only visible from the West Coast.