What’s big and blue and red all over?
Canadians in the West will find out early Wednesday, when an extremely rare alignment in the lunar calendar produces what astronomers call a super blue blood moon.
The super-duper-exciting-plus-sprinkles phenomenon hasn’t happened for over a century, because it consists of three rare moon-related events occurring all at once: a super moon, a blue moon and a lunar eclipse.
The moon will be a super moon on Wednesday because it will be at the closest point to Earth in its orbit, meaning it will appear about seven per cent larger and 14 per cent brighter than normal. It’ll be a blue moon, at least in name, because it will be the second full moon within a calendar month. And it’ll be a blood moon because of a rare lunar eclipse, which will cast a blood-red shadow over the moon’s surface.
“This makes it a really beautiful cosmic trifecta,” Andrew Fazekas, an astronomy columnist with National Geographic, told CTV News Channel on Sunday. He explained that it’s been two years since the last lunar eclipse, but over 150 years since that coincided with a blue moon.
NASA says the super blue blood moon will be visible early Wednesday in Western Canada, so long as it’s not obscured by clouds. The best time to view it will be from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. Pacific Time, although the shadow will start appearing on the moon at approximately 3:48 a.m.
“Viewers in Western Canada will be treated to the total eclipse phase from start to finish, though the penumbral shadow will pass after the moon has set,” NASA says on its website.
NASA says it will be tougher to catch a glimpse of the super blue blood moon in Central and Eastern Canada, where it will only be visible for less than half an hour, starting at 6:48 EST. NASA blogger Gordon Johnston says the best way to see it from this region will be to “get to a high place” and find a clear line of sight to the horizon in the west-northwest, “opposite from where the sun will rise.”
NASA will live stream the event beginning at 5:30 a.m. EST.
Josh Elliot, CTV News
Published Sunday, January 28, 2018 11:20AM EST