Rare 'super blue blood moon' eclipse to occur over Utah

Super blue blood moon coming to Utah for first time in 52 years. (Photo courtesy Clark Planetarium)

(KUTV) — Clark Planetarium will be live streaming the upcoming, rare lunar event known as a super blue blood moon on Jan. 31, 2018.

This will mark the first time the planetarium has live streamed a lunar eclipse, providing that the weather cooperates. This also marks the first time in 150 years that you'll get the chance to see a blue moon lunar eclipse.

The impending full moon will not only be a super moon, but it will be the third in just two months, which is a highly uncommon event.

Because this marks the second full moon in a month, this super moon is also considered a blue moon. This term refers to the second full moon in a calendar month.

"The last time we experienced a blue moon was in July 2015," a news release states. "While blue moons occur every two and a half years, this year's will happen at the same time the moon is experiencing a total lunar eclipse."

A lunar eclipse happens when the moon passes directly through Earth's shadow. Due to the angle of the moon's orbit around Earth, it experiences a total eclipse twice a year. But this event is not always visible to the same people on our planet's surface. The last time Utah saw one was in September of 2015.

"During a total lunar eclipse, the moon takes on a distinct reddish glow," a news release explains. "This result is know as Rayleigh scattering — where the light from the sun scatters through Earth's atmosphere and bends each of the wavelengths differently, producing our blue skies and red sunsets. The sight will give a memorable treat to those who are up early enough to see it — a super blue blood moon!"

Although the super moon will be visible throughout the evening on Jan. 31, the total lunar eclipse will not begin until 3:51 a.m. local time. Its maximum eclipse will be reached at 6:29 a.m.

The moon will not be very high in the sky once the lunar eclipse begins. Because of this, the dawn and the horizon could affect viewers' abilities to witness the entire event near its conclusion.

Visit facebook.com/clarkplanetarium to watch the live stream.

Eclipse timeline: Wednesday, Jan. 31
Penumbral eclipse begins 3:51 a.m.
Partial eclipse begins 4:48 a.m.
Total eclipse begins 5:51 a.m.
Maximum eclipse 6:29 a.m.
Total eclipse ends 7:43 a.m.

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