The SUPER BLUE BLOOD MOON will be visible Wednesday morning, January 31st across Iowa and Nebraska... but what is it? It's almost like three moons all in one. It's going to be a super moon, blue moon, and a blood moon... and you can really order those any way you want when naming it.
First, let's talk about a SUPER moon. The moon's orbit, or path, around the moon is not a perfectly centered circle, so sometimes the moon is closer to the earth than at other times. When the moon is near its closest distance to the earth, it is often called a super moon. This makes the moon appear about 6% bigger and about 12% brighter than an average full moon. But in all honesty, most people can't tell the difference.
Then, we have the BLUE moon. Most calendar months only have one full moon in them, but sometimes the timing works out to have two full moons (or none) in the same month of the year. The first is called a full moon, and the second is called a blue moon. It doesn't actually look blue, that's just what we call it.
Lastly, it will be a BLOOD moon. A blood moon is another name for a total lunar eclipse. This is when the sun, earth, and moon line up just right (and in that order) for the moon to pass through the earth's shadow. This is the opposite of the total solar eclipse we saw in 2018 where the moon cast its shadow on the earth... but let's get back to the total lunar eclipse. As the moon passes through the earth's shadow, it gets a red tint, hence the name blood moon.
Just like a total solar eclipse, not everyone on earth will be able to see the total lunar eclipse in person. Parts of North America will be able to see the moon spectacle, including Iowa and Nebraska. The further west you live, the longer you'll have to enjoy it before the moon sets under the horizon.
A partial eclipse will begin at 5:48 am Wednesday, as the moon starts to enter the earth's shadow, making the moon appear darker. The total eclipse will begin at 6:51 am, as the moon enters the darkest part of earth's shadow. This is when the moon will start to get a red tint.
The total eclipse will continue through 8:08 am, but we won't be able to see it that long here. In Omaha, the moon will set under the horizon at 7:38 am. This will happen sooner to our east and will happen later to our west.
The last time earth saw a total lunar eclipse was September 27/28, 2015, more than two years ago. We won't have to wait that long for the next one.
A total lunar eclipse will happen again on July 27/28, 2018, but North America won't be able to see it. Then another total lunar eclipse will happen on January 20/21, 2019 which will be visible in North America.
If you plan to set your alarm for Wednesday morning to see the eclipse, take some pictures! We'd love to share them! You can email them to: Pics@3NewsNow.com