‘Super Blue Blood Moon’ a rar­ity


Lethbridge Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Ian Martens LETH­BRIDGE HER­ALD imartens@leth­bridge­herald.com www.leth­bridgeas­tron­o­myso­ci­ety.ca. Fol­low @IMarten­sHer­ald on Twit­ter

A “Super Blue Blood Moon” will greet early ris­ing sky gaz­ers in the wee morn­ing hours Wed­nes­day — that is, if the fore­casted windy, cloudy and pos­si­bly even snowy weather doesn’t ruin the show.

Wed­nes­day’s full moon fea­tures a trio of note­wor­thy phe­nom­ena. Be­ing the sec­ond full moon of Jan­uary makes what is com­monly known as a blue moon. The moon is also on the closer end of its el­lip­ti­cal or­bit around the Earth mak­ing it a super moon. And to top it off, this all hap­pens un­der the Earth’s shadow for a red-tinted to­tal lu­nar eclipse, some­times known as a blood moon.

All three events oc­cur with some reg­u­lar­ity in­di­vid­u­ally, how­ever, to hap­pen si­mul­ta­ne­ously is a rel­a­tively rare event, re­port­edly last vis­i­ble from North Amer­ica in 1866.

The chance to see the ce­les­tial dis­play, de­spite the forecast, has some mem­bers of the Leth­bridge As­tron­omy Society plan­ning on head­ing down to the Pop­son Park ob­ser­va­tory to cap­ture the event.

“They are go­ing to camp here overnight prob­a­bly and hope that they can do a time-lapse video,” said society pres­i­dent Bob Orth.

While the society has held pub­lic view­ings for such events in the past, Orth said the early morn­ing hour didn’t make it prac­ti­cal to do it this time.

““Peo­ple can view it fine from their back­yards,” said Orth. “To get a good view, a pair of binoc­u­lars will be all any­one needs.”

And, un­like last year’s so­lar eclipse, a lu­nar eclipse doesn’t re­quire any spe­cial eye pro­tec­tion, just an alarm clock.

The par­tial phase of the eclipse be­gins at 4:48 a.m. with the to­tal eclipse last­ing from 5:51 to 7:07 a.m. be­fore the fi­nal par­tial eclipse phase ends at 8:11 a.m. around the same time as the moon sets be­low the north­west hori­zon.

The lo­cal sky­watch­ers re­main hope­ful even if the weather out­look isn’t look­ing great.

“Could be a bit of luck,” said Orth. “If there’s a bit of wind and then even when it’s cloudy some­times the cloud zips away and you can see some­thing.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the eclipse visit www.nasa.gov or for info on the Leth­bridge As­tron­omy Society visit

Her­ald photo by Ian Martens

The nearly full moon peeks from be­tween the metal gird­ers of the High Level Bridge Mon­day evening in the river bot­tom. Early Wed­nes­day morn­ing will see a rare con­ver­gence of three lu­nar phe­nom­ena be­ing called a Super Blue Blood Moon. @IMarten­sHer­ald

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