What you need to know about the ‘super blue blood moon’

An amazing phenomenon that took 152 years to happen will finally be witnessed by this generation. Wednesday night (January 31) will be a night everyone should look up to the sky to see three natural lunar events happening all at the same time.

The ‘super blue blood moon’ is a showcase of the super moon, blue moon, and blood moon. A blue moon is a term used to describe a second full moon in a single calendar month. It rarely happens, hence we use the expression ‘once in a blue moon’ to refer to rare occurrences. It does not mean the moon will appear blue, although presence of specific pollutants in the atmosphere covering an area could sometimes make the moon turn blue for a while.

The super moon is a phenomenon when the moon passes closest to earth. Thus, the moon appears bigger than usual in the sky during this time. Tonight, the moon is expected to appear 14% brighter. The super moon is an occurrence that happens at least once in a year. Meanwhile, a blood moon refers to a moment when the moon appears red during an actual lunar eclipse (when the moon passes through the earth’s shadow).

The last super blue blood moon happened in 1866. Fortunately, we would not have to wait another century or several generations to witness this very rare phenomenon again. The next super blue blood moon will happen in 19 years or in 2037.


Super blue blood moon in the Philippines
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) advises Filipinos to look to the east of the sky tonight to be able to witness the rare lunar phenomenon. The super blue blood moon will start its showcase around 6:45 p.m. and the moon will begin turning yellowish by 6:49 p.m.

The lunar eclipse will start at 7:48 p.m. and by 8:51 p.m., total lunar eclipse will occur. By 9:29 p.m., things will get more interesting as the peak of the phenomenon occurs. The copper-colored moon will then emerge until 10:08 p.m.—a showcase that will last about an hour and 17 minutes. This magnificent showcase will end at exactly 12:09 a.m.

Viewing and possible effects
You do not have to go elsewhere to view the super blue blood moon tonight, although Pagasa admits that it could be viewed better and clearer in other parts of the country than in Metro Manila, where pollutants in the atmosphere and the bright lights could affect overall clarity and quality of the sight. The most ideal condition would be a clear and cloudless sky. Stargazing is still best in the dark, or away from usually bright lights from households and commercial establishments.

Although some superstitious beliefs may be associated with the phenomenon, Pagasa said these alignment of the three bodies (the sun, the earth, and the moon) happen but rarely. And the only direct effect the super blue blood moon may bring is a higher tide, which may raise up to two inches. The gravitational pull of the moon normally causes tides in various time each day. Lastly, because the moon may appear brighter, fishermen may catch fewer fish tonight.