Look out for rare 'super blood blue moon' visible on Jan. 31

The full moon on 31 January coincides with the Moon's closest approach to Earth.

And a blood moon?

For those in the eastern US, the eclipse will begin at 5:51 a.m. on January 31. The moon will lose its notable brightness and turn a reddish hue; hence the "blood" monicker with totally eclipsed moons.

The lunar eclipse will occur at 1.30pm British and Irish time, and the next eclipse won't be visible until July 2018 - so time to keep your eyes peeled. The partial eclipse will begin at 3:48 a.m. on the West Coast, with the total eclipse beginning at 4:51 a.m. and ending at 5:29 a.m.

The points where the lunar orbital plane intersects with the ecliptic are called its nodes, and it is only when the Moon is near the nodes of its orbit at Full and New phase, so the line of the nodes points toward the Sun, that we have eclipses.

If you miss the January 31 lunar eclipse, you'll have to wait nearly another year for the next opportunity in North America. The moon will be entirely inside the earth's dark umbral shadow and will last a bit more than one-and-a-quarter hours. That said, don't worry if you can't tell the difference between this supermoon and your average full moon, because it likely won't look all that much brighter to most casual observers. Early Wednesday morning, the moon will charge right into the umbra shadow and get bloody! This name does come from the rusty, red color that the moon will become as the moon slides into Earth's shadow. For this diagram, at the time of this lunar eclipse, that means that the Sun is where you are, and the Moon is farther "inside" your display, behind the Earth.

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But if you are not somewhere you can simply go outside and see it, here is a list of online locations hosting a live webcast of the rare event.

Each lunar cycle, the moon passes through perigee - the point in its elliptical orbit closest to Earth. Hold it up to the horizon and the moon should be about that high in the sky. Scientists say the difference between the full moon and the almost full moon is imperceptible to most observers. For the first time in more than 150 years, people will be able to see a supermoon, a blue moon and a lunar eclipse all at the same time.

Unlike a solar eclipse, this lunar eclipse can be safely viewed without protective eyewear.

The moon is actually going to appear a reddish-orange color.

Dr Vijay Bhaskar, director of Centre of Space Medicine, has meanwhile asked citizens not to encourage superstitions associated with the lunar eclipse. Many parts of Asia witnessed that event as it happened on December 30.

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