The moon will stage a rare triple show on Wednesday when a blue super moon combines with a total lunar eclipse that will be visible from western North America to eastern Asia, U.S. astronomers say.
The overlap of a blue moon – the second full moon in a calendar month – with a lunar eclipse while the moon is at its closest approach to the earth is the first such celestial trifecta since 1982, said Noah Petro, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center outside Washington.
“Just having these three things simultaneously occur is unusual,” Petro said in a telephone interview. “A blue moon is not extremely rare but it’s a nice coincidence that it happens in conjunction with these other two.”
A blue moon normally occurs about once every 2-1/2 years. This month’s first full moon was on Jan. 1.
The blue moon also will be a super moon, which occurs when it is at or near its closest point to the earth, or perigee. A super moon is about 14 percent brighter than usual, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said.
The total lunar eclipse, which can be seen from everywhere in India, begins at 5.20 pm with what is called the partial shadow or penumbra of the earth’s shadow striking the moon.
The main eclipse will start around 6.25 pm after sunset and this can be seen in the eastern sky as the moon would have just risen by then.
Wednesday’s moon will be the second closest of 2018 after the one on Jan. 1.
In India, the eclipse will start around 05:18 pm IST. It will be total at 06:21 pm and remain fullest till 07:37 pm.
Then after, the total eclipse will end and the Moon will slowly come out of the shadow of the Earth, the partial eclipse ending around 08:41 hrs. The totality of the eclipse will last for about 1 hour and 16 minutes.
In Asia, the last Blue Moon and total lunar eclipse happened on December 30, 1982.