Midnight on Wednesday will witness a very rare lunar event – the “Super Blue Blood Moon.” The name itself might appear to be a term used in Vampire movies. However, there is no blood in the Super Blue Blood Moon. Simplistically, this is an eclipse of the full Moon. The celestial event occurs as the moon slides behind Earth’s shadow during a lunar eclipse. Lunar eclipses are not uncommon, but the coincidence of Wednesday’s blood moon with other astronomical events is what makes this event special. First, because it is a “blue moon” — that means it is the second full moon to occur in a month. This doesn’t happen very often since full Moons roughly happen every 29.5 days. January began with a full Moon on the 1st, so the month will close out with one, too. Also, it is a supermoon, meaning it will be closer to the Earth than usual. Supermoons occur whenever a full Moon is closest to Earth in its orbit, making it about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than full moons that happen when they are farther away from Earth.
But why the term blood? Well, the term “Blood Moon” is used to describe a total lunar eclipse, because it causes the Moon to turn a dark reddish color. This happens whenever the Earth passes directly between the Sun and the Moon, and the Moon falls into our planet’s shadow or umbra. The Moon doesn’t go completely dark, though: the Sun’s light still manages to shine onto the lunar surface, but it will appear mostly reddish-orange. This happens due to a phenomenon known as “scattering.”
In India, the eclipse will start around 17:18 IST. It will be total at 18:21 hours and remain totally eclipsed till 19:37. Then after, the total eclipse will end and the Moon will slowly come out of the shadow of the Earth, the partial eclipse ending around 20:41 hrs. The totality of the eclipse will last for about 1 hour and 16 minutes. No special binoculars or a telescope is needed to view the eclipse. It can be seen with naked eyes.
The next total lunar eclipse will be visible in India on July 27, 2018, but it will not be a Blue Moon or a Super Moon.