Super blue blood moon and lunar eclipse a rare sighting

Enhanced image of super blue blood moon. Credit: NASA
Enhanced image of super blue blood moon. Credit: NASA

It’s rare to see a super blue blood moon and a lunar eclipse all at the same time, says York University Professor Paul Delaney. The last one was in 1866. But that’s what Jan. 31 will bring eager celestial watchers.

Enhanced image of super blue blood moon. Image by NASA

The “blue” in the super blue blood moon is because it’s the second full moon of the month, and as it will be relatively close to the Earth, it’s also called a “super” moon. In addition, this particular phase of the moon will see the moon, Earth and Sun all line up, causing a lunar eclipse as the Earth blocks the sun’s light from falling onto the lunar surface. If you’re where the totality phase of the lunar eclipse is visible, this particular super blue moon will not have a bluish cast, but a reddish glow, which makes it a blood moon.

It will depend where you are just how much of the lunar eclipse you’ll be able to see. From British Columbia, residents will see totality, but from Toronto and further east, the Sun will rise before the totality phase is reached.

If you miss this one, the opportunity won’t come again until next year.