Is two out of three enough for the eastern USA in the loony trifecta?

Ok, you’ve heard so much about the loony lunar trifecta of January 2018.

Just for fun, indulge me, as we briefly review:

1) A second full moon in a month has become known as a ‘blue moon’.

2) A total eclipse of the moon in the earth’s shadow has been called a ‘blood moon’.

3) A full moon (only time we can have a lunar eclipse) which occurs near when the moon is closest to earth for the month has been labeled a ‘supermoon’.

The lunar eclipse part is what I’m interested in, but for the eastern United States, the moon will set before or just after the darkest part of the earth’s shadow starts to cross the moon.  So, we miss out on the best part of the trifecta.

If you are driving to work or out before sunrise on Wednesday, and have a clear view of the western horizon, check out the setting moon.  Perhaps it will have a gray cast since the sun is partially eclipsed as seen from the moon.  At 6:47am EST, the darkest part of the earth’s shadow will start to ‘take a bite’ of that part of the moon where the earth has completely blocked the sun.  For the NYC metro area, the moon will be only 2 degrees (four moon-widths) above the natural horizon and will set shortly after about 7:04am.

So, it’s going to be hard to see!

See to see how what the eclipse would look like from New York City.    Here’s how it will look from the moon . . .


earth from moon eclipse jan 2018

Earth and Sun as seen from the Moon at 6:45am – the eclipse is just about to be ‘partial’ from our viewing point and just about to be ‘total’ from the leading edge of the moon. We are just about to rotate away from seeing the moon. Or as we call it, moonset.


Just a few minutes later, from the center of the moon (where solar system simulator views the earth from) is in the shadow of the earth, Venus would be visible. It’s hard to see Venus from earth now, because it’s so close to the sun in the sky.

That leaves us with seeing the second-closest full moon to earth in 2018 and the second full moon in January.

Each month from here on in, the full moon will be further from the earth than either of January’s full moons (as well as the full moons of last December and November).

By the way. . . that is each month, except February.  February will bring a respite from full moons, blood or blue or super.  They won’t be a full moon in February, with full moons occurring on January 31st and March 1st.

So, we’ll have a rest from full moons, and their crazy titles, super or otherwise.








3 responses to “Is two out of three enough for the eastern USA in the loony trifecta?

  1. There’s something really special about a lunar eclipse, isn’t there? It’s a shame this part od the country won’t get to see it. It is the best part, you’re right. Remember the one in September 2015? Wonderful.

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