How to Watch the Super Blue Blood Moon

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A rare super blue blood moon is set to occur this Wednesday, Jan. 31, and stargazers are right to be (excuse the pun) over the moon about it. To understand their excitement, you’ll need to understand what’s happening, exactly. Even though the phrase “once in blue moon” suggests they’re rare, blue moons—the second full moon in a one-month period—are relatively frequent, taking place once every 2.7 years. Supermoons are full moons that occur at the closest possible point to Earth, making them appear slightly bigger and brighter, and grace us once every 14 months. And blood moons, also known as total lunar eclipses, take place about twice a year when the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow, turning it an eerie, copper-hued color.

But to have all three happen at the same time? It hasn’t happened since 1866.

It’s excellent news for those who missed out on the spectacle of last summer’s full solar eclipse. You may have to travel for the full-blown experience, though: “Weather permitting, the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii will have a spectacular view of totality from start to finish,” said NASA program executive Gordon Johnston in an official blog post. If you’re in the Middle East, Asia, eastern Russia, Australia and New Zealand, the super blue blood moon can be seen during moonrise on the 31st.



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