“Supermoon trilogy” continues with wolf moon over Border

The moon rises in Bondi, Sydney, on November 15, a day after the official supermoon was obscured by clouds. Photo: Janie Barrett
The moon rises in Bondi, Sydney, on November 15, a day after the official supermoon was obscured by clouds. Photo: Janie Barrett

While it might sound like the latest trend in teenage fiction, the “supermoon trilogy”, will have astronomers looking skyward tonight.

New Year's Day was the second part of what NASA has dubbed the "supermoon trilogy": three supermoons in swift succession. 

On December 3, the "cold moon" supermoon rose in the evening. The first day of 2018 will bring the “wolf moon” supermoon, the closest and brightest moon.

But it's the "blue moon blood moon supermoon" rising on the night of January 31, 2018, that has night sky enthusiasts really excited.

"If you can only catch one episode of the supermoon trilogy, catch the third one," said a release from NASA.  "It will be extra special."

For one, it's the third of summer's four supermoons, the phenomenon where the full moon appears bigger and brighter because it is "at perigee" – the point in its orbit when it is approaching Earth at its closest.

As the second full moon in a calendar month, it will be a blue moon. (Contrary to the old saying, they're not that rare, falling once every three years.) 

And finally, it will be a blood moon, glowing red during a lunar eclipse, as it takes on a faint glow from the sunlight reflected through Earth's atmosphere. 

This story “Supermoon trilogy” continues with wolf moon over Border first appeared on The Border Mail.