CBS Local — The world was treated to a stellar show to start 2018 as the year’s first supermoon appeared on New Year’s Day. Now sky watchers are preparing for an even more rare event this month: a blue moon total lunar eclipse.
The month’s second full moon on Jan. 31 is known as a blue moon. The event will coincide with a total lunar eclipse, which is called a “blood moon” because of the reddish color people see during the eclipse. The rare combo of lunar events hasn’t been seen in over 150 years. Astronomers have to go all the way back to March 31, 1866 to find the last “Blue Blood Moon.”
To make the event even more spectacular, the full moon will also be a supermoon like the one on Jan. 1. Shortly before the blue moon starts, Earth’s lone natural satellite will reach a point known as perigee, where it is at its closest point to the planet and appears much larger to the naked eye.
So when and where can the “Super Blue Blood Moon” be seen?
The event will start in the early hours on Jan. 31. On America’s East Coast, the moon will begin to darken at 5:51 a.m., but won’t reach the darker part of the Earth’s shadow until 6:48 a.m., about 15 minutes before the moon sets, meaning the East Coast won’t see the total eclipse.
In the Chicago area and the rest of the Central Time Zone, the eclipse will begin around 4:51 a.m., and the moon will still be above the horizon when the full eclipse achieves its signature blood red color by 6:16 a.m. The moon will set shortly after 7 a.m., as the sun is rising, with the moon still in total eclipse.
The West Coast will get the best look at the blood moon as the eclipse begins at 2:51 a.m. and will last through 6 a.m.
For people who miss the early morning moon show they can catch the blue moon portion of the event at night on Jan. 31, which will start at around 9:30 p.m. on the East Coast. Blue moons come around every 2.7 years, but this year’s may be a once in a lifetime sight.