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Super blood moon. Photo: NASA

If the skies overhead are clear during the early morning of January 31st, look for the super blue blood moon above the western horizon!

The moon will be “super” because it’s at its closest point to earth in its orbit – the perigee – appearing 14% larger than usual. It’s “blue” because this is the second full moon in a month (we had a full moon on January 1st, the Wolf moon). And it’s also a “blood” moon because it will pass through earth’s shadow, giving it a reddish tint.

That shadow occurs because there will also be a total lunar eclipse: when sun, earth and moon line up almost perfectly. While the entire eclipse will last some four hours, the total phase of the eclipse will last an hour and sixteen minutes.

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Graphic courtesy of NASA.

 

Who knows whether the mushers and dog teams racing through the night tonight will be greeted with this amazing sight in the morning, or whether any of us here locally will have clear skies to see it, but it’s worth getting up early to check, just in case.

Here’s a quick video from NASA explaining this rare grouping of celestial events.

And if viewing isn’t favorable in your location, NASA will have a live feed of the eclipse at 5:30 am Eastern time – weather permitting, of course.

About the author

Rebecca Wallick

Rebecca is a freelance writer and publisher living near McCall, Idaho. A Seattle native and recovering attorney, she much prefers the quiet, slow pace, and distinct seasons of the West Central Mountains, enjoying the skiing, hiking and running opportunities provided by the nearby Payette National Forest. Rebecca is a Contributing Editor with Bark magazine, and the author of Growing Up Boeing: The Early Jet Age Through the Eyes of a Test Pilot’s Daughter (Feb 2014).

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