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Space Moon

First Blue Moon Total Lunar Eclipse in 150 Years Coming This Month (space.com) 59

An anonymous reader writes, citing a report: The first eclipse of 2018 will be a lunar one that comes at the very end of the month, on Jan. 31. It will be a total eclipse that involves the second full moon of the month, popularly referred to as a Blue Moon. Such a skywatching event hasn't happened for more than 150 years. The eclipse will take place during the middle of the night, and the Pacific Ocean will be turned toward the moon at the time. Central and eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand and most of Australia will get a fine view of this moon show in the evening sky. Heading farther west into western Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, the eclipse will already be underway as the moon rises.
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First Blue Moon Total Lunar Eclipse in 150 Years Coming This Month

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  • Not a blue moon (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @04:49AM (#55847525)

    This is only a âblue moonâ(TM) if you misunderstand what this term means, or trying to make up some story. Go and read Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_moon

    The next blue moon will be 18/05/2019.

    • So......there's more than one definition of a blue moon, the moon itself doesn't turn blue, and according to one of the common definitions, there will be a blue moon this month.
    • Re:Not a blue moon (Score:5, Informative)

      by darthsilun ( 3993753 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @09:00AM (#55848049)

      This is only a 'blue moon') if you misunderstand what this term means, or trying to make up some story. Go and read Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik... [wikipedia.org]

      The next blue moon will be 18/05/2019.

      This is the two-full-moons-in-one-month Blue Moon. That's what's happening on Jan 31st.

      The original definition, AIUI, is third full moon in a season with four full moons. Usually there are only three full moons in a season. (A season being the period of time between a solstice and an equinox, or between an equinox and a solstice.) That's the kind of blue moon that's happening on 18 May, 2019.

  • clearer (Score:5, Informative)

    by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <kepler1NO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @05:29AM (#55847613)
    Just to be clear, there's nothing physically significant or different about a "blue moon". It's just a calendar thing where the moon appearing full (every 28 days) happened to fall twice within 31 days of a calendar month. "THIS IS A ONCE IN A 150 YEAR EVENT!" is kind of a dumb thing to emphasize (but I guess if it gets people to watch who didn't know before, then I suppose it's worth something, if a little "markety"). A blue moon happens every single month with *some* phase of the moon...

    And the statement, "... The eclipse will take place during the middle of the night..." is kind of a no-brainer. *Every* astronomical event takes place during the middle of the night on Earth somewhere! Maybe it could've been more informatively stated "since lunar eclipses are only visible to the parts of of the Earth facing towards the moon and away from the sun, people in Asia, Hawaii, Australia, India, etc. will get the best view."
    • I thought it was the 4th moon in a season, so it should be just before a solstice or an equinox. No way Jan 31 is a blue moon.
    • The "once in 150 years" applies to the coincidence of both things, a "blue moon" and an eclipse. And that can by the very nature of an eclipse only happen on a full moon.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I think the point is that the definition of a "blue moon" is completely artificial, because many aspects of our calendar are artificial and unrelated to the Moon's orbit. Blue moons do nothing different from other full moons. They're not special, and the concept's not relevant to the science of astronomy.

        • No, but it's interesting to note that this year we have actually two "blue moons". Because there's no full moons in February, there will be two in March again.

          And no, it still has no astronomical relevance. It's just a funny coincidence. And something to talk about at parties, maybe even something to pick up the chick with the healing crystal around her neck who tried to engage you in a discussion about the veracity of Daeniken's books.

    • by qubezz ( 520511 )

      Yes this, stuff made up by people is not significant to the cosmos. Also, it seems like every other full moon is now a "SuperMoon!(tm)"

      People don't really need to be encouraged to look at either kind of eclipse though. Like meteor showers, most people aren't going to be impressed by something that isn't a fireworks show.

    • the moon appearing full (every 28 days) happened to fall twice within 31 days of a calendar month. "THIS IS A ONCE IN A 150 YEAR EVENT!"

      Once in 150 years you say?

      January 2018, July 2015, December 2009, June 2007, July 2004 all have (had) monthly blue moons. The next one will be October 2020, then August 2023. You do the math.

      And as for the moon appearing full every 28 days? No, the moon appears full every 30 days, when the moon completes a full orbit relative to the Sun. (Hint, the full moons this month are on the 1st and the 31st.) This is different than a sidereal orbit. which is 27.5 days.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > Once in 150 years you say?

        Yes. A full lunar eclipse on a blue moon is once every 150 years or so.

      • If you'll just RTFS (This is Slashdot; I don't expect you to RTFA.) you'll see that it's the first time in 150 years that there will be an eclipse of a Blue Moon.
    • And the statement, "... The eclipse will take place during the middle of the night..." is kind of a no-brainer. *Every* astronomical event takes place during the middle of the night on Earth somewhere!

      More to the point, it is impossible for a lunar eclipse to take place during the day, because the Sun must be on the exact opposite side of the Earth to the Moon.

      It is, of course, inevitable that it will be daytime somewhere during a lunar eclipse, but nowhere that the eclipse is visible.

    • by jbengt ( 874751 )

      . . . the moon appearing full (every 28 days) . . .

      It's actually once every 29.53 days, to a reasonable accuracy.

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @07:40AM (#55847865)
    I guess this one isn't for the common folk.
  • it's OK, we've got this sort of news covered...

    https://www.xkcd.com/1930/ [xkcd.com]

  • I'm waiting for the NDT tweet about how this isn't a big deal.
  • The eclipse will take place during the middle of the night

    They always do, for somewhere.

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