Rare 'blue supermoon' total eclipse to occur in Singapore on 31 January
Expect to see a “super blue moon total lunar eclipse” on 31 January when you look up to the skies, a rare occurrence that last happened over 150 years ago.
The previous total lunar eclipse of a blue moon happened 152 years ago on 31 March, 1866, according to astronomy news portal Space.com.
The next total lunar eclipse of a blue moon will only occur 10 years later on 31 December, 2028.
A total lunar eclipse happens when the moon enters the darkest part of the earth’s shadow, called the umbra.
Taking place once in every two years and eight months on average, a blue moon, named after the rarity of its occurrence, is a second full moon within a month.
Typically, only one full moon occurs in a calendar month. This year, however, will see two occurrences of two full moons in a month, with the second blue moon occurring on 31 March.
The last time two blue moons occurred within a year was 19 years ago, said Mok Li Hui, a Science Educator at the Science Centre Singapore (SCS).
The blue moon on 31 January will also be a supermoon, a phenomenon that occurs when a full moon or new moon coincides with the point in the moon’s orbit closest to Earth.
As such, the moon will appear “as much as 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter”, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
“The moon on 31 January can be viewed anywhere in Singapore, where there are no tall trees or buildings blocking your view, as long as you face the eastern sky,” Mok said.
Viewers are, however, advised to watch it with binoculars or through a telescope to enhance the experience.
According to the SCS, the astrological event will begin at 7.48pm and end at 11.11pm in Singapore.
The total eclipse will commence at 8.51pm and end at 10.08pm, while the partial eclipse will end at 11.11pm.
“The moon will turn red or coppery during the total eclipse. The red/blood moon is possible because while the moon is in total shadow, some light from the Sun passes through Earth’s atmosphere and is bent toward the moon,” the SCS said.
The next total lunar eclipse this year will occur on 28 July and will be a micro moon, which happens when a full moon or new moon coincides with the point in the moon’s orbit farthest away from Earth.