Moon to stage triple show tomorrow

January 30, 2018

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WASHINGTON: The moon will stage a rare triple show on Wednesday (tomorrow) when a blue super moon combines with a total lunar eclipse that will be visible from western North America to eastern Asia.

The overlap of a blue moon — the second full moon in a calendar month — with a lunar eclipse while the moon is at its closest approach to the earth is the first such celestial trifecta since 1982, said Noah Petro, a research scientist at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “Just having these three things simultaneously occur is unusual,” he said.

The moon will reach its fullest at 1327 GMT (6.27pm PST) on Wednesday.

A blue moon normally occurs once every 30 months. This month’s first full moon was on Jan. 1.

The blue moon also will be a super moon, which occurs when it is at or near its closest point to the earth, or perigee. A super moon is about 14 per cent brighter than usual, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said.

Wednesday’s moon will be the second closest of this year after the one on Jan 1.

The lunar eclipse will last over three hours. It will start at 1148 GMT (4.48pm PST) and peak at 1329 GMT (6.29pm PST).

The total eclipse will be visible from the western United States and Canada across the Pacific Ocean to most of Australia and China, as well as northern polar regions. The eclipse will give the moon a reddish color known as a blood moon.

Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2018