Dubai: You have a chance to see a very rare celestial treat on January 31 — the ‘super blue blood moon’.
This rare phenomenon, which Nasa describes as a lunar trifecta, combines three events at the same time: a blue moon, a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse.
A blue moon happens when two full moons occur in the same calendar month. This January’s first full moon happened on its first day and another one is scheduled on its last day, January 31.
A supermoon — where the moon appears seven per cent larger than an average full moon — happens when the moon is at a point in its elliptical orbit that is closest to earth called perigee.
The total lunar eclipse happens when the sun, earth, and moon align and the Earth’s umbra (the darker, central shadow) completely covers the moon. The Earth’s atmosphere also blocks parts of the sunlight’s spectrum, leaving only the longer wavelengths that give the moon a reddish orange or blood red hue.
According to space.com, the upcoming eclipse will be the “first total eclipse of a Blue Moon in nearly 152 years.”
“This is a unique event because the moon will be rising and as it comes on the horizon, it will be eclipsed. The eclipse is going to be a very big one as it will be coming from the Pacific Ocean all the way covering India and all the way to the UAE,” Hassan Al Hariri, CEO of Dubai Astronomy Group, told Gulf News.
“While rising from the horizon, the moon will be eclipsed totally. It will be reddish to dark reddish. This event will look spectacular definitely. As the moon goes up, it will exit from the earth’s shadow so the total eclipse will be visible in the UAE for roughly two minutes maximum,” he added.
Al Hariri said that though the total eclipse will only last for a few minutes, the supermoon will last the whole night.
Al Hariri said the phenomenon may be viewed from anywhere beginning at 6.04pm in Dubai, weather permitting. He said residents who want to have a good view should look for a high point that is unobstructed.
Al Hariri said the Dubai Astronomy Group is organising the “Super Moon Eclipse event” on January 31 at the Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre in Mushrif Park where the public can have naked-eye observation, telescopic observation, and have astro-photography opportunities. The group will also give a presentation and hold a question-and-answer session.
The paid event at a fee of Dh20 per person is for a limited number of people only, Al Hariri said. People can visit https://www.q-tickets.com/ for registration.
Total Lunar Eclipse
Where to watch:
You can watch it from anywhere but Dubai Astronomy Group recommends going to a high point or finding an unobstructed area with free sight to East-northeast for the best view of the eclipse.
What time will I see the eclipse?
In Dubai, the total lunar eclipse will begin at sunset at 6.04pm.
How long it will continue?
The maximal eclipse when the moon is within the Earth’s umbra (darker, central shadow) is from 6.04pm until 6.07pm. The whole process of the moon coming out from eclipse will run for more than an hour.
The supermoon will last the whole night.
Will be moon be actually blue?
No. The moon will be reddish orange to blood red in hue. The term Blue Moon is only used to refer to two full moons happening within one calendar month. The term has nothing to do with the colour of the moon.
Do I need special glasses to watch the event?
No. It can be watched with the naked eye.
Source: Space.com, Dubai Astronomy Group