by Srishti Batra – On January 31, 2018, a very special and rare astronomical event happened. We got to witness a super, blue, and blood moon together on a single day. Below I am defining all the three terms associated with these moons:
Supermoon: When a full moon comes as close as possible to Earth in its elliptical orbit. At this closest distance, the Moon appears bigger in size and brighter as well. The most recent supermoon occurrence was on January 31, 2018, and the next one will be on December 22, 2018.
Blue Moon: A month which has two full moons, the second full moon event is called a blue moon. Jan 2018 had two full moon events – Jan1 and Jan 31, hence making the later a “Blue Moon”.
Blood/ Red Moon: During a lunar eclipse, the Earth comes in between the Sun and the Moon and casts a shadow on the Moon, which makes the Moon appear reddish in color.
Aditya, a colleague at NCBS, had set up a telescope on the rooftop of our housing complex to watch this spectacular event. It was an experience of a lifetime to observe the entire process of Earth’s shadow covering the Moon and turning it bloody red; to the transition into a brighter and bigger supermoon. The lunar eclipse lasted approximately 75 minutes starting around 6.20 pm IST to 7.35 pm IST after which it transitioned into the brighter supermoon.,
The next Super Blue Blood Moon will be in 2037, 19 years away. Keep waiting until then!