Super Blood Blue Moon

The Mathletes were in for a rare treat on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 that hasn't been witnessed since 1866, 152 years. We spent the first part of class discussing this astronomical phenomenon. 


A partial lunar eclipse will be visible on the east coast at 5:53am through 6:58am with the maximum at 6:53am, Wednesday, Jan. 31. Go to the highest point in your town to see this rare occurrence. Because the sun rises just 16 minutes later, you will only be able to see the beginnings of the eclipse. 


This should be quite the show because it will also be a blue moon and a super-moon. 


For 77 minutes, the full moon will pass through the Earth's shadow, casting an orange hue over the moon (this is called a blood red moon. The total phase of a lunar eclipse is so interesting and beautiful precisely because of the filtering and refracting effect of Earth's atmosphere. If the Earth had no atmosphere, then the Moon would be completely black during a total eclipse.


It will also be a blue moon because it's the second full moon in the calendar month. The first occurred on Jan. 2, 2018.


The moon will also be a super-moon because it will appear up to 30 percent brighter and up to 14 percent larger than normal as it makes its closest pass to Earth, according to 


Blue moons occur about once every 2.7 years, according to, so they aren't nearly as rare as one might think.


The best times to catch any full moon is just before it rises or sets when a phenomenon called the "moon illusion" makes the moon and other celestial bodies appear larger than normal on the horizon. The explanation for this optical illusion is still being debated, but many scientists believe it has something to do with how our brain processes the objects in our visual field near the horizon, the report added.


See the attached article from the New York Times describing this event.

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