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Science and Innovations

Lunar Eclipse Combines With Super Blue Moon

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

A total lunar eclipse will be visible tomorrow (Jan. 31) before dawn. It’s taking place during an unusual time in the lunar cycle, giving it the name of a “super blue blood moon”. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

This eclipse is remarkable because it takes place during a “supermoon,” when the moon is closer to Earth in its orbit, so it appears extra big and bright. It’s also a blue moon, the name for the second full moon in a single month. A blue moon occurs every two or three years.

Tomorrow at around four a.m. Earth’s shadow will begin to cross over the surface of the Moon. Totality occurs between six and seven a.m.

That’s when the moon turns a dark red color, giving it the informal name “blood moon.” Look for it close to the horizon in the western sky. It’ll still be partly eclipsed when it sets at dawn.

The combination of a total eclipse with a “super blue moon” last occurred in North America in 1866.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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