Been spending the first days of 2018 looking to the future? That's what new years are all about, but come the end of the month, you might want to look to the skies as well. As part of a summer filled with supermoons, an extremely rare celestial event will occur: a super blue blood moon — or a supermoon, a blue moon and a total lunar eclipse, aka a blood moon, all at once.
On the evening of January 31, it'll be time to peer above to see a piece of history. The last time this trifecta happened at the same time was back on March 31, 1866. They'll be more frequent in the coming decades, with others expected on December 31, 2028 and January 31, 2037. Still, if you miss it this month, ten years is a long time to wait.
If you're more familiar with The Mighty Boosh's take on the moon than actual lunar terms, here's what you need to know. As we all learned back in November 2016, a supermoon is a new moon or full moon that occurs when the moon reaches the closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit. They're not uncommon; two have taken place since the beginning of December. The supermoon at the end of January will be a full moon, which is why it's also a blue moon.
A blue moon refers to the second full moon occurring in a calendar month. Despite the saying, they happen more often than you might think, with the last taking place in July 2015, and another due in March this year. And then there's the lunar eclipse, when the moon passes directly behind the Earth, into its shadow, blocking direct sunlight. When the three celestial bodies are lined up, it makes the moon look like it has been tinted red.
If you're keen to catch a glimpse, the super blue blood moon is expected at around midnight on January 31, with the full eclipse at 1.51am on February 1. Have your cameras at the ready, obviously — and see if you can outdo the last big batch of supermoon snaps.