First blue moon total eclipse in 150 years coming January 31

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First blue moon total eclipse in 150 years coming January 31

This event occurs only once in every two and a half years.

How unusual are Blue Moon eclipses?

A rare total lunar eclipse that involves the second full moon of the month - popularly referred to as a Blue Moon - is set to take place on January 31 for the first time in over 150 years.

While the blue moon and the lunar eclipse will occur on January 31, the supermoon will actually take place on January 30. However, you might be lucky enough to watch a part of it in Hawaii and Alaska.

Even that Supermoon is odd in itself.

A supermoon is for many astronomers a controversial term.

It's almost impossible to compare the apparent size of the supermoon with a micromoon from memory, but when seen side-by-side as in this graphic, it becomes clear.

The moon orbits around Earth in what is called an ellipse, keeping an average distance from Earth of about 238,000 miles.

The last couple of months have seen some unusual evenings for the moon. Another trio comes in 2019. This makes for a moon that appears bigger and brighter in the night sky. One potential landing site is the South Pole-Aitken basin, which is the single largest dent on the Moon's surface.

Once in a blue moon? . But before that spacecraft takes off, China needs to send a communications satellite to hang out above the far side of the Moon and pass signals back to Earth, which could happen as early as June.

The first one is, just like at the beginning of the month, a supermoon.

In a Blue Moon, the moon doesn't actually appear blue; instead, the name indicates that it is the second full moon in a particular month.

Another Blue Moon is expected to be seen late in March this year making it a really special year for astronomers and astrologers.

The maximum phase of the total lunar eclipse will happen at around 8.37 am EST, or 1.37 pm GMT, according to the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

"Often cast in a reddish hue because of the way the atmosphere bends the light, totally eclipsed Moons are sometimes called 'blood moons'". That happens just under every three years. Heading farther west into western Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, the eclipse will already be underway as the moon rises. Other regions will be able to see some parts of the eclipse.

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