For the first time in over 150 years, a full lunar eclipse will occur on January 31st, marking the first eclipse of the new year.
The second full moon of the month, also known as a blue moon, will fall behind the Earth and into its umbra, or shadow. For the moon to fall into the umbra, the sun, Earth, and moon have to align perfectly.
Once In A Blue Moon
According to the Canon of Lunar Eclipses, we can expect another total blue moon eclipse on New Year’s Eve in 2028, as well as on January 31st, 2037. In other words, a blue moon eclipse usually seems to appear about once every decade, but there’s a catch.
If we look back on the last blue moon eclipse, roughly a decade ago in 2009, we see that it was only an 8% partial eclipse. This means that while a blue moon eclipse occurs once every decade, a total blue moon eclipse is much rarer. In fact, the last total blue moon eclipse occurred on March 31, 1866, over a century and a half ago.
The Best Seats In The House
So who will have the best view of this ultra-rare celestial phenomenon?
According to Joe Rao of Space.com, the moon will be floating somewhere above the Pacific Ocean when it fully enters the umbra, meaning that places like Central and Eastern Asia, New Zealand, and Australia will have a clear view of the eclipse. In Western Asia and Eastern Europe, however, the eclipse will have begun before moonrise occurs.
Looking to the Western hemisphere, Alaska, northwest Canada, and Hawaii will have an uninterrupted view of the entire eclipse, while the rest of the Americas will see the moon set before the eclipse begins.
Hoping to spot this rare spectacle in person? Book a flight and take an impromptu vacation to the Eastern Hemisphere at the end of the month!