Super Blue Blood Moon – What is it?

Explaining Wednesday Morning's Astronomical Wonder

The eye was on the sky Wednesday morning as three astronomical wonders happened at the same time – a Super Moon, a Blue Moon, and a Blood moon.

So what exactly does that mean?

NASA Scientist Dr. Michelle Thaller said a super moon is when the Moon is closest to the Earth in its orbit and will be bigger and brighter than normal.

“A blue moon is something minor, sort of fun. It is when you have two full moons in one month. It has nothing to do with the color. The last one, the blood moon is the most dramatic. That means that there is going to be a lunar eclipse in which the moon is going to pass into the shadow of the earth. And the Earth’s shadow will block sunlight from hitting the Moon. The moon will go dark, and will take sort of a reddish color as it passes through the shadow,” explained Thaller.

And this combination doesn’t happen every day either.

“The last time this happened was back in 1982, when I was in sixth grade, and the time before that was 1844. So these things only happen every couple of decades and the next one isn’t until 2037,” she said.

The Super Blue Blood Moon even impacts NASA Spacecraft orbiting the Moon. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter or LRO has been orbiting the moon for the past eight years.

“It is solar powered, so when it passes into the shadow, it shuts down some of the instruments so we’re monitoring that very closely,” Thaller said.

The LRO takes maps and helps us study the moon’s surface.

The surface that we’ll be able to see under a telescope’s red filter.

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