'Super Blue Blood Moon' to occur next week

The moon is predicted to appear like this during the eclipse at about 2.30am

The moon is predicted to appear like this during the eclipse at about 2.30am

While it has no special astronomical significance, the view in the sky is striking as the usually whiteish moon becomes red or ruddy-brown.

Astronomers and sky-watchers in particular are eagerly awaiting the night of January 31 when they will be able to observe an uncommon, yet spectacular celestial event in the night sky, which is dubbed a super blue blood moon. This shadow covers the entire moon and causes a total lunar eclipse.

For those in Greater Cincinnati, the eclipse will be visible before sunrise on January 31.

According to Space.com, sky-watchers in Alaska, the Hawaiian islands and the western part of North America will have the best view.

January 19, 2019: Total eclipse.

Viewers in the eastern U.S., South America and across much of Western Europe and Africa don't have to miss out on this rare spectacle.

July 16, 2019: Partial eclipse.

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Like the Earth, half the moon is illuminated by the sun at any one time. The moon's orbit is not perfectly circular, meaning its distance from Earth varies as it goes through one cycle. This occurs every 29.5 days, when the moon is directly opposite the sun relative to the Earth. This lunar trifecta is the first of its kind in 35 years and will not occur again until 2037. However, at times the planes coincide. If things are just right, the moon passes through that shadow.

When a lunar eclipse happens, the moon appears to darken as it moves into the Earth's shadow called the umbra. Only seasoned skywatchers will be able to tell the difference, because the moon only darkens very slightly.

On Jan. 31, astronomers will use thermal cameras to measure the temperature on the moon's surface during the lunar eclipse, using the Haleakala Observatory on the island of Maui in Hawaii, according to NASA.

During a full eclipse, however, something spectacular happens. In the Central time zone, peak viewing time is 6:15 a.m.to 6:30 a.m local time. At the same time, a little bit of light from Earth's sunrises and sunsets (on the disk of the planet) falls on the surface of the moon. The only other blue moon for 2018 will happen in March - March 1 and March 31, to be exact.

Scholars say that the colour of the blood moon may vary from a range of brown to red, entirely depending on the atmospheric humidity and pollution.

And some people will see a lunar eclipse to top it off. As the moon lacks the atmosphere as we know it, the temperature on Earth's natural satellite largely variates between the lunar day and night.

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