They called it a trifecta of Lunar events. A supermoon, a blue moon and a lunar eclipse coinciding on 31 January 2018. Definitely, a time for night sky watching and capture the view with your binoculars, telescope, or camera.
You had to be in Australia, eastern Asia, or parts of Canada for the best views. The night sky in Northern Australia granted enthusiasts perfect viewing – a clear sky with no clouds. Media outlets claimed it was 150 years since the last supermoon blood moon coincided.
A second full moon that occurs in a single month is called a blue moon. This will happen in a year where the first full moon occurs on or before January 10 and results in 13 full moons for the year. This generally occurs every 2½ to 3 years.
In 2018, we saw two blue moons.
Where Did the Name Blue Moon Originate?
Supposedly, it all started from a misinterpretation of the 1937 Maine Farmer’s Almanac in answer to a question in the Sky & Telescope magazine’s 1946 quiz. The Almanac had a Blue Moon defined as the third full moon of the season that contains four full Moons.
The moon in total eclipse appears reddish in color as it is illuminated by sunlight filtered and refracted by the earth’s atmosphere.
Astronomer Brad Tucker, from the Australian National University, explained: “That red appearance is really the sunrise and the sunset of the Earth falling on the Moon.”
This video explains the intricacies of the lunar eclipse:
You can check out the many features of the moon with Google Moon.
You can search for key places, like the Sea of Serenity aka Mare Serenitatis. You can also view sites of the Apollo landings.
Key to Moon Features
The Moon is just over one light second from Earth. With binoculars or a telescope, you can see the features on the Moon’s surface.
- Rima for rille
- Mare for sea
- Sinus for bay
- Lacus for lake
- Vallis for valley
- Palus for marsh
- Rupes for scarp
- Mons for mountains
- Oceanus for ocean
- Montes for mountain range or group.
All other features are craters.
If you’re new here and starting out with astronomy, be sure to check out our Beginner’s Page where you will find helpful guides and tips to get more out of your stargazing experience.
Or, see our Buyer’s Guide Section if you are looking to buy astronomy gear and need some help sorting through the numerous options.