The first eclipse of 2018 will be visible in skies across Qatar and the Middle East on January 31. It will be a total lunar eclipse involving the second full moon of the month, also known as a Blue Moon, the first such event in 152 years. In the event that two full moons occur in the same month, the second one is called a Blue Moon or Old Moon. The term ‘Blue Moon’ doesn't mean that the January 31 moon is actually blue in colour. As per Space.com, the moon's red appearance is caused by red light that is bent as it passes through the Earth's atmosphere and reflects onto its surface.
(The image showing range and times for the January 31, 2018 total lunar eclipse, Image Credit: NASA, chart by eclipse expert Fred Espenak)
The Blue Moon lunar eclipse is set to take place in the middle of the night with the Pacific Ocean turned toward the moon at the time. Central and eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and most of Australia will get a good view in the evening. In the Middle East, it will have already begun as the moon rises. Alaska, Hawaii, and northwestern Canada will see the eclipse from beginning to end.
(Image Credit: Karl Tate, SPACE.com)
The next Blue Moon to pass through Earth's umbra will be on December 31, 2028, and then again on January 31, 2037 -- and both of them will be total eclipses. Space.com noted that before 2017, there was an eight percent partial eclipse on December 31, 2009, but for a total eclipse of a Blue Moon, we have to go back to March 31,1866 -- which means the upcoming eclipse on January 31, 2018 would be the first total eclipse of a Blue Moon in nearly 152 years!
Are you planning to stay up to see the rare Blue Moon this month? Drop us a line in the comments below and let us know! Also, don’t forget to like and share this article.
(Cover image credit: iStock by Getty Images)
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