Australians will have a front row seat to see a once in a 150-year event — a super red blue Moon illuminating the night sky tomorrow (Wednesday, January 31).
The second full Moon of the month, which is known as a blue Moon, coincides with a total lunar eclipse, called a red Moon, and the Moon being at one of its closest points to earth in its orbit, called a supermoon.
Viewers will see a blood Moon, a Moon coloured bright red as the Earth’s shadow passes over it.
“Unlike most of the world, we will be able to see the eclipse from beginning to end,” says astrobiologist Charley Lineweaver, an Australian National University Associate Professor.
“Another perk of this celestial show is that the earth’s shadow will not pass over any old full Moon, rather, it will pass over a super Moon — it will be closer and brighter than usual.
“Thus, we will witness a super red blue Moon … a cosmic syzygy even rarer than a blue Moon.”
In eastern Australia, the eclipse will start just before 10 pm, with the total lunar eclipse starting just before midnight, and lasting an hour until around 1 am.
The last super red blue Moon was in March 1866.
Watch a scientist explain what’s happening:
Astrophysicist Brad Tucker says you don’t need special equipment to see lunar eclipses.
“A camera is good to take some great shots but you can also enjoy it safely with your eyes, unlike a solar eclipse,” Dr Tucker says.
“Since the orbit of the Moon varies (wobbles) by about five degrees, the Moon is not always in perfect alignment with the Sun and the Earth, so that is why we do not get a lunar eclipse every lunar cycle.”
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