The Blood Moon Eclipse: Why the Moon Turns Red

In the morning of wednesday 31st january, a Super Blue Blood Moon will be seen in the sky. It will a blue moon lunar eclips. It will also be a blood moon hence the terms. Being a blood moon means its a total lunar eclipse which causes the Moon to turn a dark reddish color. It is also called a blue moon because it is the second full moon in the same month, that is January 2018.

Why is it red?

The term “Blood Moon” is used to describe a total lunar eclipse, because it causes the Moon to turn a dark reddish color.
As the Earth and moon move around in their orbits, the earth orbiting the sun and the moon orbiting the earth, there comes a time when the sun, Earth, and moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle.

In that position, the earth completely blocks out the light from the sun to the moon and the Moon falls into our planet’s shadow, called umbra.
We are able to see the moon because it reflects light from the sun to earth. Considering this particular circumstance, we should not be able to see the moon because it is completely shadowed by the earth but we do and its red and beautiful. That is because the earth does not only shadow it but it does something very interesting. The Sun’s light still manages to shine onto the lunar surface, but it will appear mostly reddish-orange, thanks to a phenomenon known as refraction.
Whenever the sunlight passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, since they are moving from a vaccum in space into the atmospher, its speed and direction is affected. The atmosphere in the total sense of the word bends the light. And since light from the sun though white is made of diffent colours, blue, red, yellow etc. They each react to the atmosper’s bending effect differently. One may bend more than the other seperating the white light to the differently colours (its the same action that makes rainbows).

Some colors like the blue light with a shorter wavelength may bend so much it goes back into space. The red and orange light with longer wavelenghts bend just enough to hit the moon’s surface and its reflected back to the earth. This makes the moon look reddish brown.
This light is only shining on the Moon indirectly though, so the lunar surface will be much dimmer than normal. But the red Moon will still be visible in the night sky, looking a bit like our planetary neighbor Mars.

How big will it be?

The moon during the eclipse will be closer to the Earth than usual. The Moon moves around the earth in an elliptical orbit which is a slightly flattened circular path causing the distance from the moon to the sun to change from time to time. The distance at the eclipes event will be the shortest making the moon about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than full Moons that are the farthest away from Earth.

Where can you see this?

The Super Blue Blood Moon can be seen on the morning of January 31st in North America and Hawaii, however the view will be better for those on the West Coast of the US.

It will also be visible in Australia, some parts of Europe and Canada. NASA plans to provide a live stream of the Moon starting at 5:30AM ET. We will share the link on our socials @techkrest so be sure to follow us.

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