Rare lunar trifecta may be partially visible in WNY

January 31 will close out the magic moon month with a lunar eclipse during the second full moon of the month (which is also a supermoon).

The rare event last took place over 150 years ago and the only question now is: where's the best place to see the historic lunar show? Astronomers call this phenomenon as "Blue Moon". "It's about 14-percent bigger than normal". (And while, yes, a new moon isn't exactly a full moon, per se, it is full on the other side.) Think of it as the esoteric twin of the exuberant blue moon; see below. Blue Moon A blue moon occurs when a single month hosts two full moons.

While the total lunar eclipse can be viewed anywhere in India with the naked eye, the first stages will not be directly visible here as the eclipse will start when the moon is below the horizon in India.

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"The whole character of the moon changes when we observe with a thermal camera during an eclipse", said Paul Hayne of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado-Boulder. This will all happen while a lunar eclipse develops in the morning twilight on Wednesday.

At 3:52 a.m., the moon enters the penumbra of the Earth's shadow where the Earth only partially blocks the sun's light from directly striking the moon. This occurs every 29.5 days, when the moon is directly opposite the sun relative to the Earth. The last Blue Moon in the United States came in late July 2015.

"It'll be blood red when it's in total eclipse, otherwise any Blue Moon on any regular day is just a moon", said Klassen. This color is created because Earth's atmosphere appears like a circular sunset sky around its entire periphery as seen from the moon.

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This first full moon of January is known as the wolf moon because it is recognized as the time to hear howling wolves. This leaves a narrow, half-hour window to see all three coincide before the moon sets at 7:15 a.m.

This free event will begin during eclipse partiality at 5:30 a.m. on the West Lawn of CSU's Lory Student Center.

Three relatively common lunar events will occur at the same time Wednesday morning resulting in a rare astronomical viewing opportunity.

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Partial eclipse ends at 7:11 a.m.


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