YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On the first night of the New Year, another supermoon will appear in the night sky.
This supermoon is special because it is part of a trilogy of supermoons that began on the night of December 3rd. The third one arrives January 31st.
A supermoon occurs when a full moon is at its closest orbital point to Earth, appearing up to 30 percent brighter and up to 14 percent larger than when the moon is at its furthest point in its orbit.
“You expect one or two a year on average. The one we had (in December) was only one of 2017,” said Dr. Patrick Durrell, planetarium director at Youngstown State University.
Geoffrey Landis, with the John Glenn Research Center, said the third moon in the trilogy will be even more exciting than the first two.
“This time, the supermoon and the blue moon happen at the same time and amazingly enough, at exactly the same time as a lunar eclipse,” Landis said.
The lunar eclipse will make the Jan. 31st moon a blood moon, a blue moon and a supermoon all at the same time.
“The moon actually passes through the shadow of the earth and if the moon goes through that shadow, it looks a little darker,” Durrell said.
We won’t have the best view of the January 31st moon here in the Valley. We’ll only see a small portion of it as it goes down early in the morning. You’ll have to wait about a year before you’ll get your next good look at a lunar eclipse.
Scientists say the best time to view a supermoon is right after moonrise and before sunrise when the moon is sitting on the horizon. This makes the moon look even larger compared to other objects appearing against the night sky, such as buildings and trees.