Super-dooper, blue-blood moon Wednesday, January 31, 2018…
Full moons get plenty of play in poetry, popular songs, and spooky stories. There is a romance about them, and even those with zero interest in astronomy might be found humming a blue moon song, or dragging their families out to gaze at the glowing orb. I have made it a point to celebrate our full moons whenever I can, and that is usually less than half of them. It is easy to say, “Oh, so what if I miss this one, there will be another next month.” The reality is out of generally twelve full moons a year, 4-6 are hidden by clouds, and another 2-3 are on nights I have commitments that keep me from getting out there to howl.
Still, I look up all the different words for each full moon, and if I can get to watch it rise from the ocean, or over a mountain, wherever I happen to be, I do. Our second full moon in January has been dubbed the Wolf Moon, or the Snow Moon. It is also a moon with a lunar eclipse. There is a lot of information out there about this triple-crown moon, and much as I would love to give a clear and easy viewing guide, I confess to being a bit confused.
The lunar eclipse is as the moon sets on the morning of Wednesday, January 31. This moon is called a blood moon because during an eclipse the blue light is filtered out, leaving the moon with a reddish tint.
But how can that be the super moon, too? A super moon in the morning as the moon sets? We have seen a number of super moons. My favorite viewing spot is conveniently located between where I work and where I live. It overlooks the Whaleback rock, where Otter Cliffs Road meets Ocean Drive in Acadia National Park. (This is also where Champlain hung up his ship, according to local lore, maybe he was distracted by a blue moon) These moons appear massive, dominating the horizon as they rise, seeming to emerge straight from the water. Admittedly I have missed a few of them owing to poor communication. Me: “I have the mozzarella balls, round crackers, and beverage with little round bubbles, moon food. Meet me at home and we can drive together…I am home, where are you?… I am home, where ARE you?…Oh, you are already there?” Mad dash to see moon well over horizon, oops. And this year’s January super moon I simply read the time wrong, and saw the moon as it rose above the horizon, but missed it when it first appeared, which is when it seems the most bloated.
So I was planning ahead for the blueblood moon in am, and a superblue moon in pm—fabulous, I have excuses to skip work and head to the coast twice in one day. (The “blue” is simply because it is the second full moon in the month) But then I found this, “The Super Blue Blood Moon can be seen on the morning of January 31st in North America.” And this, “The Jan. 31 super moon is also the second full moon of January, making it a blue moon, and also occurs during a total lunar eclipse.” and “A lunar eclipse, supermoon and blue moon will be taking place simultaneously—the event is being dubbed by many as the “super blue blood moon.”
So sources say it all happens at the same time, in the am. However, I still need some convincing, as I do not want to see the tail end of a moon event yet again. I will be on a hill, with other moongazers, watching the moon set on Wednesday morning and glow red, if the clouds allow. But I am not taking chances, I will also be at my super moon viewing spot as the full moon rises Wednesday evening, even if I will probably be alone.