Portsmouth could see rare ‘super blue blood moon’

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — While more challenging on the east coast, Portsmouth residents could look to the sky next week to see a rare “super blue blood moon.” 

The moon on Wednesday, Jan. 31, will not just be a blue moon, according to NASA, but a lunar trifecta: a “super blue blood moon.” 

Those living in the western part of North America, Alaska, and the Hawaiian islands might set an alarm early the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 31, for the pre-dawn “super blue blood moon.” 

“For the (continental) U.S., the viewing will be best in the west,” said Gordon Johnston, program executive and lunar blogger at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Set your alarm early and go out and take a look.”

The Jan. 31 full moon is special for three reasons: it’s the third in a series of “supermoons,” when the moon is closer to Earth in its orbit — known as perigee — and about 14 percent brighter than usual. It’s also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.”

The super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse. While the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a “blood moon.” 

For those living in North America, Alaska, or Hawaii, the eclipse will be visible before sunrise on Jan. 31. For those in the Middle East, Asia, eastern Russia, Australia and New Zealand, the “super blue blood moon” can be seen during moonrise on the morning of Jan. 31. 

“Weather permitting, the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii will have a spectacular view of totality from start to finish,” said Johnston. “Unfortunately, eclipse viewing will be more challenging in the Eastern time zone. The eclipse begins at 5:51 a.m. ET, as the moon is about to set in the western sky, and the sky is getting lighter in the east.”

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