Lunar trifecta: Rare 'super blue blood moon' will light the sky this week
Set your alarms, space fans -- if you can drag yourself out of bed on Wednesday, you're in for a treat.
The pre-dawn hours of January 31 will play host to an incredibly rare celestial convergence -- a "super blue blood moon."
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So, a "supermoon" is when a full moon occurs at the same time as its perigee, the closest point of the moon's orbit with Earth. The result: the moon appears larger than normal and NASA is predicting this one will be 14% brighter than usual.
Chances are you have used the phrase "once in a blue moon" -- but have you ever wondered where it came from? The well-known idiom actually refers to the rare instance when there is a second full moon in a calendar month. The first supermoon of 2018 -- which took place on New Year's Day -- was previously described by NASA as the "biggest and brightest" one expected for the entire year.
Then completing this "lunar trifecta" is the "blood" element. Although it does not have a scientific definition, a "blood moon" occurs during a lunar eclipse when faint red sunbeams peek out around the edges of the Earth, giving it a reddish, copper color.