WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A rare triple show of the moon when a blue super moon combines with a total lunar eclipse was witnessed from western North America to eastern Asia.
The overlap of a blue moon – the second full moon in a calendar month – with a lunar eclipse while the moon is at its closest approach to the earth is the first such celestial trifecta since 1982.
A blue moon normally occurs about once every 2-1/2 years. This month’s first full moon was on Jan. 1.
The blue moon also will be a super moon, which occurs when it is at or near its closest point to the earth, or perigee. A super moon is about 14 percent brighter than usual, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said.
Today’s moon will be the second closest of 2018 after the one on Jan. 1.
The lunar eclipse, which takes place when the moon passes in the earth’s shadow, will last almost 3-1/2 hours. The total eclipse will be visible from the western United States and Canada across the Pacific Ocean to most of Australia and China, as well as northern polar regions. The eclipse will give the moon a reddish color known as a blood moon.