The 31st of the first month of 2018 shall mark the occurrence of the blue moon that hasn’t happened in the past 150 years. People have been seeing a series of celestial events since the beginning of New Year, and this is one of the highly anticipated events for the skywatchers. The same day as the blue moon, viewers shall also experience a lunar eclipse visible in the night sky.
The occurrence of Blue moon total eclipse is an uncommon event as it is taking place after a long span of 150 years. The moon is responsible for providing a rhythm to the tidal waves on the surface of the Earth even when it is located at a distance of 385,000km from our planet.
The estimated time for the event is during the middle of the night with visibility available in areas such as Central and Eastern Asia, New Zealand, Indonesia along with certain parts of Australia. These areas shall get a good view of the event during the evening. The other half of the globe like western Asia, India, middle-east along with Eastern Europe shall experience the blue moon as the moon rises from the sky. Places like Alaska, Hawaii as well as a Northwestern section of Canada can see the event in the sky.
Blue Moons aren’t unique as they happen around once every 2.7 years because the number of days in a new moon to new moon is a bit less than the usual calendar month. A sequence of 12 lunations adds up to 354 days, against the 365 days in a year. The difference adds up over time until year will have 13 lunations as opposed to 12. 2018 will feature two Blue Moons one in January and one in March. The distance between the Earth and the moon changes continously. Every time the moon orbits the Earth, in 29.5 days, it will reach close to the Earth, and occasionally the adjacent location will be close to the date of the full moon i.e., a supermoon.
A timetable has been set for the major stages of the blue moon event in accordance with six different time zones. The first one is for Hawaii (HST), another for Alaska (AKST) along with four others in the U.S. as well as Canada. These four places consist of Pacific (PST), Central (CST), Eastern (EST) and Mountain (MST). Astronomers have confirmed that the event shall start around 4:51 am PST near the Western Coast of the U.S. The darkest fragment of Earth’s shadow created by the moon entering the umbra part shall happen at 4:08 a.m. EST. The overall duration of this process shall be close to 77 minutes. As per reports, moon’s lower half shall be visible brighter than the upper half.
This phenomenon takes place when the moon passes through the closest point in Earth’s orbit. The first ever supermoon was around 14 percent larger as well as 30 percent bright than the supermoon that occurred in the previous year in July. This event has been dubbed as “Wolf Moon” by NASA.
As per the analysis, the next similar event shall occur on 31st December 2028 followed by another on 31 January 2037. A scientist, Noah Petro, from the Goddard Space Flight of NASA confirmed that the supermoons provide the people a rare but great chance to see the moon on the closest distance to Earth. These rare events also provide the scientists a chance to study the celestial elements closely.
As suggested by reports, no such events shall be seen on February 2018, but the month of March shall bring two full moon events which will again include the blue moon. The date for this future event has been estimated to be March 31, 2018.