Supermoon, Blue Moon, and Total Lunar Eclipse to Start 2018

With more and more photographers pointing their lenses to the sky, this month is set to excite those rising astrophotography stars with a supermoon, Blue Moon and total lunar eclipse. Not only that, but they all fall on the same day – January 31st – for the first time in 150 years.

Whilst the eclipse will only occur in totality across the pacific from western North America to Eastern Asia, we’ll all get a view of the supermoon. As this supermoon is the second to occur in January (the last being on the 1st), it earns the special title of a super ‘Blue Moon’.

According to NASA, Blue Moons appear roughly once every two and a half years. Supermoons of this calibre typically appear about “14% bigger and 30% brighter” than regular full Moons that appear when it is furthest away from Earth during its orbit.

“The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the Moon, not just that once but every chance they have!” says NASA research scientist, Noah Petro.

The supermoon eclipse is set to begin at 11:48am UTC and reach its maximum at 1:30pm UTC. For those in one of the right regions to view the eclipse, this helpful page from Time and Date includes a countdown, path maps, and simulated animations to prepare you for the extraterrestrial event.

The Moon will “lose its brightness” to take on an ethereal reddish glow, made possible by the minimal sunlight that is bent by the Earth’s atmosphere.

Known as a ‘Blood Moon’, this will combine to forge a celestial spectacle of unprecedented rarity: a “super blue blood Moon”.

Best viewed shortly before sunrise or straight after moonrise, the Moon will be at its brightest and biggest for the event. So grab your cameras, tripods, Moon maps and whatever else to make the most of this lunar phenomenon.

Before doing so make sure to read up on 4 Important Habits to Improve Your Nightscape Photos, and check out our helpful video tutorial below:

 

Ed Carr is a Yorkshire-born landscape photographer and nature writer. Having spent his youth in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, he takes any opportunity to don his hiking boots and head out, camera in hand. When not out taking pictures or hastily scribbling down his thoughts, Ed’s halfway up a hill out chasing after his dog, Hendrix.

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