Tagged: lunar eclipse

There’s going to be a supermoon on New Year’s Day – here’s how to watch it

New Year’s Eve often prompts people to gaze into the sky, whether it be for a fireworks display or simply to watch the big ball drop in Times Square, but the night of January 1st, 2018, will give you another reason to look up. In a happy coincidence, New Year’s Day will feature a supermoon, which will appear bigger and brighter than a typical full moon.

A supermoon is the term given to full moons which occur at the same time as the moon reaches its closest point to Earth in orbit. When that happens, the moon seems larger in the sky and also significantly brighter than it normally does. Only the most seasoned skywatchers would actually be able to notice the difference — supermoons are only around 7% to 14% brighter than normal, which is a relatively small increase — but it’s still a great opportunity for skywatchers to snap some photos and bask in the brighter-than-usual glow.

Supermoons occur due to the fact that the moon is in a slightly elliptical orbit with Earth, rather than a perfect circle. Because of this, the moon appears at varying distances each night, and when the full moon falls on the same day that it’s at its closest point (called perigee) we see a supermoon in the sky.

Even if you somehow miss the supermoon on the night of January 1st — that New Year’s Eve hangover will probably still be in full effect so we won’t hold it against you — another lunar treat is slated for later on in the month. On the night of January 30th, a blue moon will rise for much of the world, reaching fullness at approximately 8:27am EST on January 31st. A blue moon is the term given to a full moon that occurs twice in the same month and only happens about once every two-and-a-half to three years, though it typically doesn’t actually look any different than any other full moon.

However, this time around the blue moon will occur on the same night (or morning, depending on where you are) as a total lunar eclipse. The eclipse will begin at around 6:48am EST, and if it’s nighttime in your area you should be able to catch a glimpse of it. You can check location-specific times and see whether you’ll be able to actually view the eclipse using the Time And Date website.

The United States is going to miss out on an awesome sight in space on Monday night

August is a big month for skywatchers in the US thanks to the highly anticipated total solar eclipse slated to occur on August 21st. It’ll be quite a sight, provided clouds are at a minimum and you manage to look skyward at the right time, but those outside of North America won’t get treated to the same show. But those of us lucky enough to be in a good position for the solar eclipse are going to miss out on an entirely different celestial sight this coming Monday night, when a lunar eclipse will give those in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia a reason to stare at the stars.

The event — which won’t be full, but rather a partial lunar eclipse —will occur on Monday evening in the aforementioned territories as well as Antarctica. During the eclipse, the earth will block out a portion of the sun’s light from the hitting the moon, making our only natural satellite appear as though its bottom half has been dipped in darkness.

Unlike the solar eclipse that will occur later this month, the partial lunar eclipse will last for a couple of hours, appearing its darkest and most clear at around 18.20 UTC, which is around 2:20 p.m. EST if you feel like converting.

If you’re a seasoned skywatcher who lives outside of North America, a partial solar eclipse might not be much of a replacement for a total solar eclipse, but at least it’s something, right? Plus, you don’t need to wear goofy glasses to enjoy it.