Las Vegans should have decent shot at seeing lunar eclipse

Audrey Hill
January 31, 2018

"So people have started calling that a blood moon". Although such a request is impossible (if only!), all four events are actually happening tomorrow (Jan. 31).

The last time this trifecta happened anywhere on Earth was 35 years ago. This happens when the moon is closest to the earth in its orbit. It appears between 10% and 15% bigger and brighter than usual.

Then there's the "blue" bit.

"This coming full moon is unusual in that it is the second full moon of the month, when typically there is only one full moon per calendar month". January is a pretty long month, giving the moon just enough time to reach fullness twice.

Chris Livingstone, a member of Worcester's Astronomical Society, said: "These names aren't scientific, they're just hyped up".

"The shadow of the Earth on the moon looks like reddish brown", she said. The "blood moon" title comes because January 31 will also be a lunar eclipse with the moon taking on a reddish hue as it passes through the Earth's shadow.

So how can you see this once-in-a-lifetime moon?

If you live in the United States, you'll need to be up early to catch the moon in all its glory.

'Super-Blue-Blood Moon' Visible Wednesday Morning In Central Texas

And the good news is that there should be ideal weather for viewing in Las Vegas. Alaska and Hawaii will as well.

The eclipse will be visible best in the western half of the USA and Canada before the moon sets early Wednesday morning, and across the Pacific into Asia as the moon rises Wednesday night into Thursday.

Australians can witness a total lunar eclipse about once every 2.8 years, on average.

Lunar eclipses during a super moon happen rather regularly.

The penumbral eclipse starts at 2:51 a.m. PST and the partial eclipse starts at 3:48 a.m.; nearly an hour later, at 4:51 a.m. PST, the total phase starts and lasts until 5:29 a.m. PST.

On the West Coast, head out around 4:51 a.m. your time to watch the whole thing from start to finish.

Delaware Public Media science reporter Katie Peikes talked with NASA Goddard's chief scientist Jim Garvin about what we can observe here in Delaware and what this rare super blue blood moon spectacle holds for the future of space research.

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