Super Blue Blood Moon

February 6, 2018 Posted by Dinah Zike

*This blog post was originally seen on Dinah's Blog

Before my first sibling was born, I had an imaginary, adventuresome rabbit that lived in my pocket.  When I was six, my mother rescued a starving litter of cottontails, and we fed them formula and successfully raised one kit.  As a new teacher, I had a white rabbit that my students cared for, and it taught us life lessons in return.  Today my favorite rabbit is visible on the moon.  Some people see a person when they look at a full moon; I see a rabbit.  

Before sunrise on January 31, 2018, there will be an opportunity to see the rabbit bigger and brighter than it has been seen in  North America since March 31, 1866.  During this time there will be a conflux of three events ─ a super moon, a blue moon, and a blood moon.  A super moon occurs when the moon is full and within 10% of its perigee, the closest point of its elliptical orbit to Earth.  (Apogee is the opposite, or most distant point.)  The moon will be several thousands of miles closer to Earth on January 30, and it will appear 7% bigger than an average moon and 14% bigger than a micromoon or agogee moon.  The moon will still be a near super moon the next morning, January 31, when it will also be a blue moon and a blood moon.

The full moon visible at the end of this month is the second full moon of January, and this means that 2018 will have 13 full moons instead of the usual 12.  When two full moons occur in the same month, the second full moon is commonly referred to as a blue moon. I read that this happens about 40 months out of every 1,200 months. The idiom once in a blue moon refers to the uniqueness of this event, but it isn’t rare.  February 2018 will not have a full moon, so there will be another blue moon in March.

In the early morning hours of January 31, the sun, earth, and moon will line up so that the moon passes through Earth’s umbral shadow, resulting in a total lunar eclipse.  The shadow causes the moon to appear reddish in color, and this is called a blood moon.  My husband and I will be sitting on our roof deck at 6:00 am CST (Comfort Standard Time) on the morning of January 31 to observe the near super blue moon become a blood moon during the lunar eclipse.  We will stay warm by drinking my Moonlight Mocha. I’ve shared the recipe in this blog so you can try it, too.


For Brain Refreshments and Recipe Click HERE.