If cloudy skies are blocking your view or you can’t manage to roll out of bed for an early morning viewing, we’ve got you covered. Watch the first super blue blood moon to appear over the U.S. in more than 150 years.
NASA’s coverage of the super blue moon eclipse begins at 5:30 a.m. ET. It features vantage points of the event from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and the University of Arizona’s Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter Observatory.
What is happening:
A supermoon refers to when the moon is the closest distance to Earth along its orbit and also a full moon or new moon. The combination makes the moon appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter.
A blue moon is the second of two full moons that happen in the same month, while a blood moon is merely a lunar eclipse — the Earth passing directly between the sun and the moon. The moon appears red during a blood moon because “gas molecules of Earth’s atmosphere scatter bluer wavelengths of light from the sun, while redder wavelengths pass straight through.
Why it matters:
A supermoon, a blue moon and lunar eclipse are common events, but the combination is extremely rare. A blue moon occurs about once every two to three years. Earth witnesses up to three lunar eclipses and up to six supermoons per year. But the trifecta hasn’t happened together over the Americas in 150 years, according to LiveScience.
A few random lunar facts to ponder while you wait:
- The super blue blood moon will force NASA to temporarily shut down the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, since the solar powered spacecraft will be floating in Earth’s dark shadow.
- NASA’s Apollo astronauts brought back 842 pounds of moon rocks. Those moon rocks have popped up in some strange places, since. Also, the U.S. gave 270 moon rocks away to other nations.
- One of the newest theories on how the moon came be be revolves around the near-vaporization of the Earth after it collided with another planet, roughly equal in size. The remaining debris cloud looked like a big floating cosmic donut called a synestia, which eventually condensed into our modern moon and Earth.