Set for January 31st, a very wordy lunar event that has kept the Internet abuzz from the beginning of the year will take over the night sky: the “Super Blue Blood Moon.”
For all those in hurry, the short explanation is that this is an eclipse of the full Moon that happens to have really good timing.
For those who are as curious, as we were .. we present you well-garnished dish to sate your hunger. We’ll analyze each word. Let’s start and work our way :
Not only is this a full Moon, but it’s technically a supermoon as well, meaning it will be closer to the Earth than usual. The coming lunar eclipse will be more spectacular because, during the eclipse, the Moon will be near its perigee (the Moon reaches its perigee on January 30 at around 15:28 hrs. IST) and hence it will look larger than an average full Moon, and is termed a Super Moon.
This part of the description actually has nothing to do with the Moon’s colour. A Moon is considered a “Blue Moon” when it’s the second full Moon in a calendar month. This doesn’t happen very often since full Moons roughly happen every 29.5 days. January began with a full Moon on the 1st, so the month will close out with one, too.
However, we all know that time is a flat circle, which makes this term completely arbitrary.
The term “Blood Moon” is used to describe a total lunar eclipse, because it causes the moon to turn a dark reddish colour. This happens whenever the Earth passes directly between the Sun and the Moon, and the Moon falls into our planet’s shadow or umbra. The Moon doesn’t go completely dark, though: the Sun’s light still manages to shine onto the lunar surface, but it will appear mostly reddish-orange, thanks to the phenomenon know as scattering.”
Whenever the sunlight passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, the air molecules filter out different types of light. Blues and purples are more easily filtered out or scattered since they have shorter wavelengths. (This kind of light easily bumps into the small air molecules surrounding Earth, like nitrogen and oxygen, which sends the light scattering out in all directions.) Red and orange — which have longer wavelengths — can more easily pass through our atmosphere. They then get bent and redirected onto the Moon’s surface.
This light is only shining on the Moon indirectly, though, so the lunar surface will be much dimmer than normal. But the red Moon will still be visible in the night sky, looking a bit like our planetary neighbour Mars.
Duhh! You know what the Moon is.
WHEN CAN YOU SEE THIS?
Data from NASA shows that stargazers in India will get to experience this rare event on the evening of January 31, as the moon rises. The total lunar eclipse will start in India from 4:21 pm and last till 7:37 pm.