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Eclipse once in a blue, red moon

Ian Bushnell 31 January 2018 19

A blood moon will take place on 31 January. Photo: NASA.

The Australian National University says stargazers are in for a once in a 150-year treat this week, with a super red blue Moon illuminating the night sky on January 31.

Experts say that in a rare piece of cosmic synergy, the second full Moon of the month, which is known as a Blue Moon, coincides with a total lunar eclipse (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.

ANU Astrobiologist Associate Professor Charley Lineweaver said Canberrans would have some of the best seats on Earth to view the super red blue Moon.

“Unlike most of the world, we will be able to see the eclipse from beginning to end,” said Associate Professor Lineweaver from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA).

“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.”

Dr Brad Tucker. Photo: ANU.

Astrophysicist Dr Brad Tucker from the RSAA said the super red blue Moon was a great chance for people to develop an interest in astronomy without needing to invest in a telescope.

“Lunar eclipses are great as you do not need any special equipment. 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 said.

“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.

“For those in the east of Australia, the eclipse will start just before 10 pm, with the total lunar eclipse (when it is red) starting just before midnight, and lasting just over an hour until around 1 am.”

The last super red blue Moon happened in March 1866.

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19 Responses to
Eclipse once in a blue, red moon
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John Moulis 3:05 pm 01 Feb 18

I went out after 1AM. Full moon, normal size, red one side, grey the other. An hour later I went out again, partial eclipse. No cloud at all. Talkback callers on the 2GB overnight show said it was completely cloudy in Sydney and Brisbane and they didn’t see it.

9:15 pm 31 Jan 18

Dave Apps if you are up 😉

8:00 pm 31 Jan 18

Hey Gerry. Do you remember when this happened back in 1866? ;-)

7:44 pm 31 Jan 18

Vicky and Graham Kidd-Gallichan, are you all set to watch this amazing sight?

We will have to content ourselves with a TV programme!

6:52 pm 31 Jan 18

Liv Wright Tom Banks I’m staying up past my bedtime for this one!

6:31 pm 31 Jan 18

Betty Lean, we've currently got cloud cover, just hoping it'll clear so we can see it.....

    9:04 am 01 Feb 18

    The couple of times I got up to have a look there was cloud cover 😢

4:54 pm 31 Jan 18

What if the bloody clouds get in the way?! :) I'm not waiting around for another 152 years to see this again :)

4:41 pm 31 Jan 18

Apparently Canberra Kingsley Newman, not remote Patagonia.

3:37 pm 31 Jan 18

Like the giant moon that was only actually a few % bigger.🤣

3:25 pm 31 Jan 18

Melody Ledwith want to head up to black mountain on the way home?

3:05 pm 31 Jan 18

Get out the telescope Michael McDonald

3:04 pm 31 Jan 18

Lucas Anderson I wonder if we can stay up long enough to see it!

2:42 pm 31 Jan 18

Sarah Jane any plans tonight

1:35 pm 31 Jan 18

Best vantage point?

1:27 pm 31 Jan 18

Christian Tagtachian we should get the telescope out for the boys

1:07 pm 31 Jan 18

Max, just before 10pm then at midnight.

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