This isn't just a super moon, and it's not just a blood moon.
This rare alignment of events last occurred in 1866 and won't be seen again until 2028, according to Joe Rao of New York's Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History.
"The orbit it not a flawless circle", Pierce said. According to NASA, "full moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the moon's orbit".
The moon's orbit also changes slightly during an 18 year cycle due to what is called precession. When the full moon phase coincides with the nearest point (perigee), we call it Super Moon. The moon appears larger when it is in extremely close proximity to earth's orbit, and therefore appears so much so bigger.
In an eclipse, Earth is blocking the sunlight that usually turns the moon almost white. The light is red, says Petro, for the same reason that we see red sunrises and sunsets when the sun is low in the sky and its light is filtered through the atmosphere. Traditionally, it signaled the third full moon in a season with four full moons. "If last month's Full Moon were a 16.0 inch pizza, then this month's "Super" moon would be 16.1 inches".
Chances are you have used the phrase "once in a blue moon" - but have you ever wondered where it came from? This year, the first full moon occurred on 1st January 1 and 2nd Full moon (Blue moon) will also happen in the same month. Although, we have a run on at the moment - there was one in December, one on January 31, and another coming in March.More news: Apple Inc. HomePod Pre-Orders Start Friday, But Does It Matter?
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What is a blood moon?
The lunar eclipse this Wednesday will happen early in the day for the eastern time zone, beginning at 5:51 a.m. During the eclipse, with totality visible from eastern Asia across the Pacific to western North America, the moon will slowly lose its brightness and take on a reddish hue because of the way the atmosphere bends the light, says NASA. Since the moon needs to be behind the Earth, relative to the sun, a lunar eclipse can only happen on a full moon. At this point, the moon tends to appear larger (although the reasons why are now unknown.) It's also important to keep in mind that the weather in your current location will affect the visibility of the moon, so even though the moon is brighter and larger, your view may be less impressive than that of someone in a clearer area.
Total eclipse begins at 4:52 a.m. Australians will see another lunar eclipse in July this year, when the Earth, sun and moon come together again in flawless alignment. But by the time it reaches total eclipse, the moon will have dipped below the horizon. The next time the trifecta occurs where it can be seen in America won't be for half a millennia, until August 31, 2528.
The unknown factor that might make the viewing of Wednesday's lunar eclipse here in Laramie a bust is the weather.
The forecast Wednesday in West Michigan now calls for clouds. The winter months can be pretty unforgiving when it comes to cloud cover.