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Rare super blue blood moon coming Wednesday night

2018/01/31 16:19:56

CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 31 (CNA) Skies over Taiwan will be the stage for a rare astronomical phenomenon on Wednesday night when a blood moon, a supermoon and a blue moon will all occur at the same time.

The last time such a combination of fairly common lunar happenings was observed in Taiwan 35 years ago, on Dec. 30, 1982. They will not be seen together again until 2037, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said in a statement.

The blood moon refers to a total lunar eclipse. During such an eclipse, the Earth is positioned between the sun and the moon, blocking sunlight from what would otherwise be a radiant full moon and causing the bright full moon to turn a reddish hue, according to the museum.

Since there was already a full moon on Jan. 2, the upcoming blood moon will also be a "blue moon" as well, referring to the second full moon in a month.

It will also be a super moon, a full moon that occurs when the moon is at its closest point to the Earth and looks bigger than normal.

The moon will rise at 5:24 p.m., and begin its show of a total eclipse at 6:50 p.m., the museum said. The entire sequence, visible with the naked eye across Taiwan, will last five hours and 20 minutes until 0:10 a.m. Thursday.

The actual total eclipse will occur from 8:51 p.m. to 10:08 p.m., during which the full moon will have a copper hue when it becomes completely obscured by the Earth's shadow.

"There will be one hour and 17 minutes as a whole for people to watch the total eclipse," the museum said.

The last time a total lunar eclipse coincided with a blue moon was on Dec. 30, 1982, and it will not take place again until Jan. 31, 2037.

Furthermore, since the second full moon in January falls on the 31st, and a complete lunar cycle usually takes 29 days, there will be no full moon in February, making it a "black month," according to the museum.

The last black month was in 2010. After this year, and there will not be another black month until 2029, the museum said.

The Taipei museum will broadcast the total lunar eclipse live, and will open its observatory from 7 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. for stargazers to watch the celestial event.

(By Yu Kai-hsiung and Elizabeth Hsu)