New year, blue Moon

Osaka University  NASA

In a happy coincidence, New Year's Day will feature a supermoon, which will appear bigger and brighter than a typical full moon.

Mother Nature is preparing to offer a nice little treat to the hungover people of the world on the first day of 2018. The second supermoon of the year, visible on January 31, will be an exceptional sight known as a "super blue blood moon". In the United Kingdom, people can look up to see the full moon at 2:24 a.m. Supermoons occur when the moon is at the closest point on its elliptical orbit around Earth, which could make the moon appear a bit closer and brighter, according to NASA.

The difference between a supermoon and a regular full moon isn't always easy to tell - though if you could put a supermoon next to a micromoon, a full moon that occurs when our satellite is at the part of its orbit furthest from Earth, you'd see the difference.

You'll have another chance to catch a supermoon on January 31.

The best time to see the full supermoon is right after moonrise, when it is just getting up above the horizon, timeanddate.com says. This isn't as unusual as the saying "once in a blue moon" might imply: Two full moons typically occur in the same month every two and a half years. The final installment of the supermoon series will kick off on January 31, which will be "extra special", NASA says.


Skywatchers in Western North America and Eastern Asia will also be able to catch a total lunar eclipse that evening, as the moon passes into the Earth's shadow.

The supermoon 2018 is expected to occur on January 1, coinciding with New Year's Day.

Supermoons occur due to the fact that the moon is in a slightly elliptical orbit with Earth, rather than a ideal circle. "Often cast in a reddish hue because of the way the atmosphere bends the light, totally eclipsed Moons are sometimes called 'blood Moons'".

Our expected superstar is the lunar eclipse which will take place on January 31.

"The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the Moon, not just that once but every chance they have!" said Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, according to the space agency.

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