We all know how boring the middle of the summer break can get. No EMAS parties to go to, clubs and social sports haven’t started up yet, and there’s only so many things to watch on Australian Netflix. Luckily, nature has us covered and will put on a show tonight by wreaking havoc with the moon. This amazing phenomenon has been dubbed the “super red blue moon” and will be a combination of three different effects: a super moon, blue moon and a blood moon. Each of these events are rare in and of themselves, so the combination of them is more incredible than that time Cadbury released the Vegemite chocolate bars.
The term “super moon” describes when the moon reaches the closest point to the earth during its orbit, making it appear larger and around 30% brighter than usual. There is also generally only one full moon each month, but this January has two (the first one took place on the 1st). This is known as a “blue moon”. It’s unclear why this particular name is used, but it’s kind of just a metaphor for something unlikely. Finally, a “blood/red moon” occurs during a total lunar eclipse when the moon passes directly into the shadow of the earth. Sunlight is refracted (ie. bent around the earth by the force of gravity) and so gives the moon a red hue rather than obscuring it completely, hence the name.
The extremely rare combination of all three of these phenomena will be clearly visible from Perth tonight, leading to massive excitement among avid sky watchers. Unfortunately, both the Perth Observatory and the Gravity Discovery Centre have completely sold out of tickets on their respective events to see this amazing sight.
Not to worry if you missed out on tickets though, the “super red blue moon” should be clearly visible from all over Perth! Any place with a clear view of the sky and horizon will be suitable, but places with less lighting will make the eclipse easier to see. Think parks or even your backyard if you live far enough away from the city centre. The moon will rise in the east (so you’ll want to be looking in the direction of the ocean), with the partial eclipse first being visible at 7.48pm. The moon will be completely eclipsed at 9.30pm, and the event will end at 12.08am.
Other good places watch the “super red blue moon” would be beaches, Kings Park, and any residential parks that are north or south of the city center. And while you’re watching, make sure you impress all the bystanders around you but commenting on how big and red and inappropriately not blue it is. Happy sky watching all!
Savannah Victor | @savocado_toast