A special evening is knocking at the door of the enthusiastic stargazers as they will get a rare chance of viewing a “super blue blood Moon” on Wednesday. According to NASA, the January 31 full moon is special for three reasons. It is the third in a series of “supermoons,” when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit — known as perigee — and about 14 per cent brighter than usual. It is also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.”
The super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse. And while the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a “blood moon.” To help the stargazers watch the “super blue blood Moon”, the Nehru Planetarium at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library here is organising an event, “A moonrise in Eclipse!”, from 6.30 p.m.-9 p.m. on Wednesday.
SPACE India, a start-up focused on astronomy education and Astro-tourism services, said it would also organise events to observe the phenomenon from 6p.m.-9.30 p.m. at various locations across India, including at India Gate. “The Moon will be plunged into darkness for one hour and 16 minutes (in full eclipse phase), in a deep total eclipse. The eclipse will be visible from all over India, but at moonrise, the eclipse would have already started and the Moon will be in partial eclipse while rising,” SPACE India said in a statement.
Apart from offering a rare moonrise sight, the eclipse will give researchers a chance to see what happens when the surface of the moon cools quickly, helping them to understand some of the characteristics of the regolith — the mixture of soil and lose rocks on the surface — and how it changes over time.