What's so special about tonight's Supermoon?

Nightwatchers are in for a treat as we're set to have the second supermoon of the year, and of the month, tonight

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 1:02 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st January 2018, 1:06 pm
The Supermoon.
The Supermoon.

A supermoon usually takes place every one to two years, when the full moon coincides with its closest point to Earth during its monthly orbit.

The full moon on January 31 is special for three reasons:

* It’s the third in a series of “supermoons”. The first two were on December 3 and January 1. When a full moon phase coincides with the moon being closest to the earth in its orbit (also known as perigee), we call that a Supermoon.

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* Experts say that it will look around 7 percent bigger and about 14 percent brighter than usual.

* Secondly, it’s the second full moon of the month, making it a “blue moon.”

There will also be a total lunar eclipse in some areas, including most of North America, Asia and Australia.

And while the moon is in the Earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a “blood moon.”

This phenomenon is being dubbed the “super blue blood moon”. The last time the three elements combined at the same time was December 30, 1982.

When can I see it?

Unfortunately, the eclipse will not be visible in South Yorkshire as most of Europe will experience daytime during this event.

However, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the supermoon on the nights of January 31 and February 1 at about 2am (GMT) if there are clear skies.

The eclipse itself is expected to last about an hour and a quarter. For anyone unable to watch the event in person, it will be streamed live online.

Watch it live: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/super-blue-blood-moon-coming-jan-31

An eclipse is never alone

A solar eclipse always occurs about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse.

Usually, there are two eclipses in a row, but other times, there are three during the same eclipse season.

The second eclipse this season is a partial solar eclipse set to occur on 15 Feb 2018.