Its not just a blue moon. Its not just a blood moon. It's not even just a supermoon. This week we'll be treated to all three at once. Hold onto your socks and get out your cameras people, because what Mother Nature has in store for us this Wednesday evening is a Super Blue Blood Moon. And it should be pretty impressive.
First of all, this month will feature a regular old blue moon. There are a few types of blue moons, but a basic blue moon is when two full moons occur in one month. And yeah, these things only happen once in a ....blue moon. Which is not as rare as the phrase might lead you to believe. The last time we experienced a blue moon was in July 2015. And this year we'll actually get TWO of them. The first is January 31st, and the second one falls on March 31st. And then we'll have another in a couple of years.
It's even more rare when a blue moon coincides with a supermoon. And if you're wondering why that's all one word, you can check out all the sciency stuff here. But a supermoon occurs when the moon and the earth come as close as they can possibly can without bumping into one another. This result is one of those moments where you almost run your car off the road while staring at an impossibly large and ultra-bright moon in the sky. That, my friends, is a supermoon. It happens about once a year all by itself, and its superAWESOME. Definitely a highlight for moon gazers.
But wait, as they say on all the late-night infomercials, there's more!
This Wednesday, there's a lunar trifecta in the works, which combines a blue moon and a supermoon and a total eclipse. Or, as they say in la langue de lunar, a blood moon. This happens when the moon passes through the Earth's shadow and turns reddish in color... thus the whole blood thing.
Put all of these things together, and you get a SUPERBLUEBLOODMOON.
But wait. It gets better.
Those of us here in Northern California are going to have the best viewing experience of pretty much everybody. Oh, and here's even more good news. Because this is a lunar eclipse (and not a solar eclipse), it's safe to view. No flimsy cardboard glasses needed.
It really is a once in a lifetime event. In fact, the last time all of these things converged to create an event that was as out of this world, this is what was going on in the world:
|Jesse James, circa 1866|
- The outlaw Jesse James held up his first bank
- President Andrew Johnson vetoed the civil rights bill (and Congress vetoed his veto the next month)
- Rootbeer was invented by Charles Hires
- The first rollerskate rink opened in Rhode Island
- The Civil War was officially declared over.
- Popular music at the time was being written by Gabriel Faure, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and Jacques Offenbach.
That year was 1866. More than 150 years ago. Back when my great great grandfather was ten years old. Maybe he saw it from his home in Pilot Grove, Illinois.
If you're planning on viewing the super blue blood moon, you'll have to get up sort of early to get the full experience, but at least you'll know that Californians, Alaskans and Hawaiians will get the best view of anyone in the United States, with the sky party starting at 3:45am Wednesday morning. I know. That's early. But don't let that stop you from setting up a couple of chairs in your back yard Wednesday evening to take in the extra large, extra bright full moon. The fantastic effects should still be in play until shortly after 7pm (Pacific Time).
If you plan on checking out the display, don't forget to set up some speakers, and stream today's Super Blue Blood Moon playlist on Spotify. I'm a little bit over the moon over it. And a special thanks to Barbara, JoAnne, Adrienne and my dad, who all offered up some worthy suggestions to add to a moon themed playlist I put together a few blue moons ago.