Fantastic period of special full moons begins New Year's Night


In a happy coincidence, New Year's Day will feature a supermoon, which will appear bigger and brighter than a typical full moon. On New Year's Day, we'll also see the first supermoon of 2018. The second full moon in a month is called a Blue Moon by some people, and considering that there's going to be a total eclipse on January 31, the third supermoon is a "super blue blood moon". The big event is coming on January 31, when another supermoon is set to light up the sky - making it, as some have pointed out, a "blue supermoon".

Native Americans knew the full moon of January as the Wolf Moon, a time when wolves roamed the edges of the village in search of whatever food they might find.

As a refresher, a supermoon is when a full moon occurs during the moon's closest distance to Earth in its elliptical orbit, which is called its perigee.

The first full moon will happen the evening of January 1 or the morning of January 2, thinking of where you are.

January's supermoons will be just the latest in a spate of supermoon events taking place in close succession.

Since the full moon that rises on January 31 is the second full moon in a month, it has no particular name but is a "blue moon", since it's the second to appear in a month.

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Skywatchers in Western North America and Eastern Asia will also be able to catch a total lunar eclipse that evening, as the moon passes into the Earth's shadow.

Supermoons occur due to the fact that the moon is in a slightly elliptical orbit with Earth, rather than a flawless circle.

Occasionally, there will be two full moons in a month, something that happens about every two and a half years.

As NASA explains it: "The Moon will lose its brightness and take on an eerie, fainter-than-normal glow from the scant sunlight that makes its way through Earth's atmosphere".

For January 31, 2018, you'll have to be up early here in Columbus to see the partial lunar eclipse.

"The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the Moon, not just that once but every chance they have!" said Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, according to the space agency.