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Enjoy the Beginning of the Year with the Help of the Sky

Enjoy the Beginning of the Year with the Help of the Sky

That means that the New Year's moon will appear just a tiny bit larger than the average moon. Three curious things might appear in the sky: a Blue Moon, a total eclipse of the moon and a Supermoon. Because the moon waxes and wanes about every 29.5 days, typically there's only one full moon each month-but every so often, the cycles line up so that two full moons fit in the same calendar month, in which case the second is dubbed a blue moon.

The "blue" piece of the January 31's moon's title refers to a coincidence in how the lunar cycle aligns with our calendar.

A second full moon in any month is called a blue moon - this occurs approximately every two and a half years.

The website adds that the moon and sun will briefly share the same space in the evening around moonrise and sunset. Viewers on the eastern side of the United States will be able to view a partial lunar eclipse during moonset on the morning of February 1.

The reason for the name blue moon is obscure, but in January we can almost guarantee that its actual color will be red, not blue.

The moon will touch the umbra - the darker part of the shadow - that gives the moon its distinctive dark red color close to 6:48 a.m.

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"The lunar eclipse on January 31 will be visible during moonset", Noah Petro of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center explained in a news release.

So the moon won't be as bright, but it will "take on an eerie, fainter-than-normal glow", NASA says, and could take on a "reddish hue".

The current forecast shows about 80 percent sky cover throughout New Year's Day. The moon will be 223,068 miles, 358,994 in km from Earth. The super moon term itself has been in use since 1979, according to NASA, when it was coined by an astrologer, but it is met with mixed responses from astronomers.

In another celestial fluke, the moon is now in the section of its orbit when it happens to lie a little closer to Earth, what astronomers call near perigee.

An uncommon thing might happen this January. The usual distance is somewhere around 238,855 miles or 384,400 km. This year, perihelion occurs on January 2 at 9:36 p.m., PST.


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