What is a blue moon? Here’s what you need to know

If you missed out on the supermoon on New Year’s Day, don’t fret. There’s another celestial event coming up that’s even rarer. On January 31st, Earth will experience a blue moon (as in the saying, “once in a blue moon”). This means that it will be the second full moon in the span of a single month. Generally, this happens once every two to three years, but this upcoming moon will be extra unusual. (And sadly, no, a blue moon isn’t actually blue. Because we know you were wondering.)

The upcoming blue moon on January 31st is special because it will also feature an event not seen in 150 years: a total eclipse over a blue moon. The last time this occurred was on March 31, 1866. 

You’ll get the best view of the event if you’re located in the eastern hemisphere — aka, Europe, Asia, Africa, or Australia, and you’ll arguably have the worst view if you live in the EST time zone, since it will occur around 6:30 a.m. EST when the moon is not super visible. However, if the eastern hemisphere is a little outside your travel plans (or you’re just too cold to leave the house), don’t despair. Several sites will be streaming the event live so you can view it from the comfort of your own home.

Whatever you opt to do, you should definitely make plans to watch the blue moon eclipse. The next one won’t happen until 2028 (and the next one after that won’t be until 2037). Happy moon-gazing.

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