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January 31, 2018 Total Eclipse of the Blue Moon: Facts

On Wednesday, January 31, 2018 the Moon was totally eclipsed for 1 hour and 16 minutes. Here are some things you should know about this total lunar eclipse.

Different stages of Total Lunar Eclipse over Indianapolis, United States in February 2008.
Different stages of a total lunar eclipse.
Different stages of a total lunar eclipse.
©bigstockphoto.com/alexeys

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1. A Super Blue Blood Moon

Any total lunar eclipse is a special occasion, but the eclipse on January 31, 2018 was extra special due to the confluence of three celestial events:

  1. Supermoon: The Moon was quite close to Earth during the eclipse, so it looked bigger in the sky compared to an ordinary Full Moon. Because of this, many sources referred to the January 31 Full Moon as a Supermoon.
  2. Blue Moon: The Full Moon on January 31, 2018 was the second Full Moon in January or, as many people call it, a Blue Moon. A Blue Moon has two distinct definitions: It can be the third Full Moon in a season of four Full Moons, or, like in this case, it can be the second Full Moon in a month.
  3. Blood Moon: Total lunar eclipses are sometimes called Blood Moons due to the red glow the Moon takes on during totality.

Because of these three events, many people referred to this eclipse as a Super Blue Blood Moon.

By the way, the January 31, 2018 Blue Moon was noteworthy on one more account: it was the first of two Blue Moons in 2018. Years with double Blue Moons, where two months have two Full Moons, are rare—they happen only about 3 to 5 times in a century. The next year that has two months with two Full Moons each will be 2037. The last time this occurred was in 1999.

2. First Eclipse of the Year

2018 has five eclipses—three partial solar eclipses and two total lunar eclipses.

The January 31, 2018 total lunar eclipse was the 16th total lunar eclipse since 2001, the beginning of this century, which will see 85 total lunar eclipses.

3. Some People in the US Got Front Row Seats

People in parts of central and western United States and Canada were able to see totality—from start to finish—in the early morning hours of January 31, 2018, weather permitting.

Those on the East Coast missed most of the eclipse but were able to see a partial lunar eclipse just before the Moon set.

The next opportunity for people in mainland USA to see a total lunar eclipse will be on January 20/21, 2019.

4. Early Morning, Evening, and Night Eclipse

While people in western North America were able to see the eclipse in the early hours of January 31, 2018, before sunrise, those in Asia were treated to an eclipsed Full Moon in the evening of January 31, 2018 after moonrise.

In Australia and New Zealand, the eclipse was visible in the night. Those in locations following Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), Australian Central Daylight Time (ACDT), Australian Central Standard Time (ACST), and Australian Western Standard Time (AWST) saw the maximum eclipse take place before midnight on January 31.

The maximum eclipse took place after midnight on February 1 in cities that have Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) and New Zealand Daylight Time (NZDT).

Illustration image
A partial solar eclipse looks like the Moon has taken a bite of the Sun.
A partial solar eclipse looks like the Moon has taken a bite of the Sun.
©bigstockphoto.com/underworld1

5. No Need for Eye Protection

Total eclipses of the Moon are spectacular events and are easy to see with the naked eye. Unlike solar eclipses, which require protective eyewear, a lunar eclipse can be viewed without specialized eye protection. Just step outside, look up at the sky, and enjoy!

6. Followed by a Partial Solar Eclipse

Solar and lunar eclipses follow each other—a lunar eclipse always takes place two weeks before or after a solar eclipse. The January 31, 2018 total lunar eclipse was followed by a partial solar eclipse on February 15, 2018.

7. It Is Part of Lunar Saros Series 124

Lunar eclipses occur in 18-year long cycles called Saros cycles. In lunar month terms, a Saros cycle lasts for 223 synodic months. Lunar eclipses separated by a Saros cycle share similar features, including the time of the year and the distance of the Moon from the Earth. Eclipses that are separated by a Saros cycle are included in a Saros series.

Next eclipse begins in

142Days 21Hrs 45Mins 9Secs

Partial Solar Eclipse

Jul 13, 2018 at 01:48 UTCSee more


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Lunar Eclipses

  1. When Is the Next Lunar Eclipse?
  2. Total Lunar Eclipse
  3. Why Does the Moon Turn Red?
  4. Partial Lunar Eclipse
  5. Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
  6. Can I See a Lunar Eclipse?
  7. Blood Moon - Total Lunar Eclipse
  8. Magnitude of Eclipses

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