Press release from Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute:
On January 31st, observers will be treated to a triumvirate of lunar events: the second, and last supermoon of 2018; a blue moon; and a lunar eclipse! Positioned on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, the blue moon will be fully illuminated at 13:26 UTC (8:26 am EST). This moon is referred to as a “blue moon” as it is the second full moon in the same calendar month. Blue moons typically occur every 2.5 – 2.7 years; however in 2018 we will be treated to a second blue moon on March 31. This is truly a rarity given that double blue moons will occur 4 – 5 years in a century. The moon will begin to enter the dark umbra of the Earth’s shadow around 6:48 am on January 31st and the eclipse will be in progress as the moon sets and the sun rises around 7:31 am in western North Carolina. The western North Carolina region will experience only a partial eclipse, with the West and Northwest experiencing totality before the moon sets in that region. Observers in Hawaii will see the entire eclipse under a dark nighttime sky. A lunar eclipse is the result of the moon passing through the Earth’s shadow. During the eclipse, the moon, also known as a “blood moon”, will inherit a red tint due to the Earth’s atmosphere. In this occurrence, sunlight is filtered and refracted through the atmosphere and will cast a reddish-brown hue on the moon.
PARI is a public not-for-profit public foundation established in 1998. Located in the Pisgah National Forest southwest of Asheville, NC, PARI offers STEM educational programs at all levels, from K-12 through post-graduate research. For more information about PARI and its programs, visit www.pari.edu.