New year, blue Moon

Posted December 30, 2017

The first full moon of 2018, also known as wolf moon, will not only take place at an opportune time on New Year's Day, but it will also be a "supermoon".

Mother Nature is preparing to offer a nice little treat to the hungover people of the world on the first day of 2018. Three curious things might appear in the sky: a Blue Moon, a total eclipse of the moon and a Supermoon.

In short, stargazers are in for a treat this coming New Year's Day thanks to the second supermoon that's coinciding with the event, but the third supermoon on January 31 is arguably the moon that people can't afford to miss. The first moon of the New Year, the wolf moon, is named after the idea that wolves howl at the moon.

A second supermoon in one month is also a blue moon, NASA explains.

A Blue Moon is when two full moons occur in the same month.

You'll have another chance to catch a supermoon on January 31. Then, the moon will be just 223,068 miles from Earth, compared to its average distance of 238,855 miles.

The best time to see the full supermoon is right after moonrise, when it is just getting up above the horizon, timeanddate.com says. The final installment of the supermoon series will kick off on January 31, which will be "extra special", NASA says. A blue moon is the term given to a full moon that occurs twice in the same month and only happens about once every two-and-a-half to three years, though it typically doesn't actually look any different than any other full moon.

As NASA explains it: "The Moon will lose its brightness and take on an eerie, fainter-than-normal glow from the scant sunlight that makes its way through Earth's atmosphere". Blood moons are a much creepier way to describe total lunar eclipses, which turn the astronomical body a vibrant crimson.

On Jan. 31, a supermoon will appear in the sky along with a lunar eclipse.

"The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the Moon, not just that once but every chance they have!" said Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, according to the space agency.