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First Blue Moon total eclipse in 150 years coming this month

Stargazers are in for an exciting treat this month with the first total eclipse of a Blue Moon in 150 years.

The spectacle, described by NASA as a “super blue blood moon”, will occur on 31 January.

There has already been a Wolf Moon this month, which occurred on New Year’s Day, when the moon appeared about 14% bigger and 30% brighter in the sky as it reached its closest point to Earth during orbit.

Described by NASA as “the most super of the three supermoons this winter”, it was the first of the two full moons in January – and also “the biggest and brightest of 2018”.

The first supermoon of 2018, known as a 'Wolf moon' in the sky over Scarborough, North Yorkshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday January 1, 2018. Following on from the 'Cold moon' supermoon in December 2017, it will be followed by a "super blue moon" on January 31 which will also coincide with a lunar eclipse. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Image:
Wolf Moon seen from North Yorkshire

The next sky-watching promises to be even more spectacular.

According to the US space agency, the second supermoon will be viewable “from western North America across the pacific to Eastern Asia”.

Blue Moons happen every two-and-a-half years on average, but a total eclipse of a Blue Moon last happened in 1866.

A Blue Moon is the name given to the second full moon in a calendar month.

NASA says that because there are roughly 29.5 days between full moons, it is unusual for two full moons to “fit” into a 30 or 31 day month.

It is impossible for a Blue Moon to occur in a 28 or 29-day month, so February can never have a Blue Moon.

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