Rare Lunar Trifecta of 2018 #SuperBlueBloodMoon

A rare event occurred on January 31, 2018 that had not been seen in 150 years: the Super Blue Blood Moon.

A brief overview of the Super Blue Blood Moon event by The Weather Network

New Year’s Day began with a full moon this year. Since lunar cycles are less than 31 days in length, a second full moon, called a blue moon, shone on January 31. This full moon coincided with a supermoon and a lunar eclipse, creating a rare conjunction of three events happening at the same time: a lunar trifecta. The last one occurred 150 years ago.

The big uncertainty was would there be cloud cover.

What does a Super Blue Blood Moon event look like?

This video from The Telegraph‘s Science section tells what happens during a lunar trilogy (trifecta) and explains a blue moon, supermoon, and blood moon (lunar eclipse) in under two minutes (1:43).

Time-lapse video of the rare celestial event posted by StreetArtGlobe

Everyone in Edmonton is talking about the super blue blood moon this morning (Edmonton Journal and NASA)

NASA Scientist’s Tips to See the Super Blue Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse (with pictures and videos)

What is a Supermoon? (Space.com)

  • Interesting supermoon facts, including this one: In late 2016, three supermoons occurred in a row. “The supermoon of November 2016 was also the closest supermoon in 69 years, although a closer supermoon will rise in the 2030s.”

New Year’s Day Full Moon: Are ‘Supermoons’ Really That Super? (Space.com)

My own lunar trifecta photos

The cloud-cover forecast kept changing, but in the end, I am thrilled that I was fortunate enough to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event.

I regret that I did not attempt to take a photo of the supermoon around 10:25 p.m. on January 30 when I was leaving work. I waited for a few minutes in bitter cold as a small cloud drifted away. The moon was high in the sky–full, big, bluish white, and incredibly bright. A few minutes later, more clouds drifted over the moon.

I drove home feeling elated. If there was cloud in the morning, two out of three ain’t bad. I saw the supermoon and the blue moon parts of the trifecta.

According to the Telus World of Science, the events of the eclipse in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada were as follows:

  • Partial eclipse begins at 4:48 a.m. MST
  • Total lunar eclipse begins at 5:51 a.m. MST
  • Mid-eclipse at 6:29 a.m. MST
  • Total lunar eclipse ends at 7:07 a.m. MST
  • Partial eclipse ends at 8:11 a.m. MST
  • Moonset from Edmonton at 8:26 a.m.

(© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.)

On the morning of January 31, 2018 in Edmonton, the temperature was -24°C (-11.2°F) with wind chill -34°C (-29.2°F). To my surprise and delight, the sky was clear.

But when I first glimpsed the moon, though I knew what it should look like, it was absolutely shocking to see how dark it was compared to its intense brightness the night before. It was one of those incredible “Wow!” moments. I watched the lunar eclipse from about 6:08 to 6:31 a.m. Mid-eclipse occurred at 6:29 a.m.

Frozen, I went indoors for a few minutes to warm up but ventured back out to check on the eclipse’s progress at 6:43. High cloud had already moved in–no longer a crisp image of the moon. What are the chances of that? Mid-eclipse squeaked through clear skies by less than 15 minutes.

6:08 a.m., January 31, 2018 at Edmonton, Alberta

Lunar Trifecta, Eclipse at 6:08 AM, January 31, 2018

Lunar Trifecta, Eclipse at 6:08 AM, January 31, 2018

Mid-eclipse (blood moon): 6:29 a.m., January 31, 2018 at Edmonton, Alberta

Lunar Trifecta, Mid-Eclipse, January 31, 2018

Text-Mideclipse-small_4FIzO1521745210

By 10:05 a.m. on January 31 (sunrise was 8:21), some sun leaked through high cloud, and there were sun dogs as the low sun shone through frigid air.

I feel so amazingly fortunate to have seen the full supermoon at 10:25 p.m. on January 30 through a brief break in the clouds, and then the eclipse (trifecta) on the morning of January 31, when the sky stayed clear just long enough! Apparently, it had clouded over and snowed during the night, so the timing was truly incredible. It had been a tense couple of weeks of anticipation.

Eclipse photos by the pros

Manitoba, Canada

Alberta, Canada

In Edmonton, Alberta, from the Muttart Conservatory

‘Super Blue Blood Moon’ Will Force NASA to Shut Down Lunar Spacecraft Instruments (Seeker.com)

  • Find out why
  • Contains photos and videos
  • Includes lunar eclipse diagram for January 31, 2018

Once in a blue moon

You may have heard the phrase, “Once in a blue moon.” That means it doesn’t happen very often. However, in 2018, we experience a blue moon in January and in March (although there is no full moon in February). Not so rare this year!

The first full moon, on March 1, is the Worm Moon. The second full moon, on March 31, is the Sap Moon, which is a blue moon. The last time we had no full moon in February was in 1999.

March Full Moons 2018: When to See the ‘Worm Moon’ and a (Blue) ‘Sap Moon’

Double Full Moons for March (NASA)

Complete list of every full moon in 2018, including March’s blue moon (The Telegraph| Science)

Moon over the Earth from the ISS (cbastronomy)

Related

Mooning the Earth: Moon Names and Facts

Solar Eclipse 2017

About Eva Blaskovic

I am a multi-genre author of literary fiction, fantasy, and paranormal, and writer of non-fiction articles on parenting, writing, education, health, and travel. My background encompasses both the sciences and the arts. I teach at a specialized clinic for learning disorders and mentor young authors. In addition to writing and teaching, my passions are weather, Indian food, gardening, and music. I have played eight musical instruments and spent many years immersed in taekwondo and karate. In my youth, I was an avid canoeist. I was born in Prague, Czech Republic, grew up in the Great Lakes region of Ontario, Canada, and moved to Alberta in 1988, where I raised four children.
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3 Responses to Rare Lunar Trifecta of 2018 #SuperBlueBloodMoon

  1. danawayne423 says:

    Things like that fascinate me 🙂

    Like

  2. Aghasi Byan says:

    Very interesting! Thanks for the article Eva 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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