The pre-dawn hours of January 31 will play host to an incredibly rare celestial convergence - a "super blue blood moon".
To complete the trifecta, this super blue moon will also coincide with a lunar eclipse, or blood moon.
NASA will stream the moon live beginning at 5:30 a.m. EST (1030 GMT). Our next total lunar eclipse will take place on July 27th, but it will only be visible from South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
Th lunar eclipse will begin at 5:48 a.m. Wednesday, give our take a couple of minutes depending on your exact location.
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Normally, a blue moon happens in every two years and eight months and this one is third in a series of super moons which happen when the moon is closest to Earth in its orbit. Unfortunately, the total lunar eclipse (where the entire moon is covered in a reddish glow) will not be visible here in New Orleans, because the moon will be below the horizon before the total eclipse happens.
He said the color is caused by the Earth's atmosphere reflecting red light from the sun onto the moon and becoming visible during the eclipse, ironically turning the blue moon red.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the earth's shadow, resulting in a reddish glow over the moon's surface. "It's just a full moon turning darker so it's very safe to look at", says "backyard astronomer" Gary Boyle. "Instead of this little, tiny shadow of the moon on the Earth, you have this big shadow of the Earth covering up the tiny moon". And, unlike a solar eclipse, no special glasses are required. It's also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a "blue moon", which happens every two and a half years, on average.
The term blood moon isn't a scientific term but one coined colloquially.
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The Virtual Telescope Project will also live stream the eclipse with source material in Australia and the U.S. beginning 6:30 a.m. EST (1130 GMT) until 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT). Despite the name it doesn't have anything to do with the color of the moon.
"They don't need binoculars or telescopes you'll see this red moon in the sky, binoculars or telescope will just make the moon look closer, a little bit bigger", he said. "Obviously, the farther west you go, the more likely you're going to be able to see it".
Dr Vijay Bhaskar, director of Centre of Space Medicine, has meanwhile asked citizens not to encourage superstitions associated with the lunar eclipse. Fraknoi said. But most other Bay Area stargazers should head to the hills to catch a better glimpse.
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