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Rare lunar trifecta may be partially visible in WNY

Rare lunar trifecta may be partially visible in WNY

Before dawn this Wednesday, Jan. 31, the first total lunar eclipse of its kind in over 150 years will take place. The lunar calendar nearly lines up with our monthly calendar, but not exactly. You may have heard the phrase "once in a blue moon" which is used as the equivalent as a once in a generation or lifetime opportunity, but we actually get a blue moon every year or two. A lunar eclipse is the result of the moon passing through the Earth's shadow. And the blood moon happens when the moon appears rust colour during a lunar eclipse.

Supermoons are seen about once every 14 or 15 months; so again, no biggie. "It's also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a 'blue moon'".

First, it will be a supermoon, a moon that appears its largest to observers because its elliptical orbit is closer to Earth.

A guide to the total lunar eclipse
A guide to the total lunar

The U.S. space agency reports that the western portion of North America, and Alaska and Hawaii will have the best view of the super blue blood moon. This will all happen while a lunar eclipse develops in the morning twilight on Wednesday. "So, what happens is the moon passes into earth's shadow", said Klassen, a physics and astronomy professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, at Rowan. "The moon will set behind the Sierras before the shadow completely moves off the moon's disk". That is the reason it is called a "Blood Moon".

To see the phenomenon, you need to be on the night side of the Earth; this eclipse will be visible mostly in Asia, Australia, the Pacific and North America. The name comes from the red and orange appearance that the moon takes on. "So, if you have a really good horizon, you might be able to see a bit of the moon turn red before it sets". About 3% of all full moons are blue moons.

This is still a pretty rare astronomical event! Eclipse maximum occurs at 6:29 a.m.as the moon is low in the west, and the sky is brightening in the morning twilight. From 5 a.m.to 7 a.m., they'll open their doors for free, inviting amateur astronomers up to the observatory for a remarkable view.

Commercial rocket from New Zealand deploys small satellites
Rocket Lab now has five Electron vehicles in production, with the next launch expected to take place in early 2018. The company has become the second in the world to have put something in orbit, and New Zealand the 11th nation.

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