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Fly me to the super blue blood moon (and let me play among the stars!)

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Posted 2 weeks ago

With February (and Valentine’s Day!) just right around the corner, it would seem that romance is in the air. In addition to playing the cheesiest love songs over speakers, commercial establishments have also started decorating their shops with red-colored ornaments and heart shaped décor.

And it would seem that even the night sky itself has decided to join in on the festivities. A rare event, that last happened about 150 years ago, will grace tonight’s sky. Known as a super blue blood moon (what a mouthful, eh?), this occurs when a blue moon and a lunar eclipse both happen while the moon is at its closest point to our planet (also known as perigee or super moon).

Despite it’s name, a blue moon does not necessarily imply that the moon will be blue colored as it refers to the rare occurrence of a second full moon within the same month. A blood moon, on the other hand, is the result of the moon taking on a reddish color due to the sunlight reflected by the earth’s atmosphere during a lunar eclipse. The super moon results in the moon appearing 14% larger and 30% brighter than usual.

All three combining will surely result in quite a spectacle. In fact, at least five telescopes have been set up in the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory on the campus of the University of the Philippines Diliman for use by the public. It will also be visible from other parts of Asia, Middle East, Russia, Australia and portions of western North America

Thankfully, the celestial event may possibly be seen by the naked eye in any place in the Philippines – assuming that the skies remain clear for the rest of the evening. The super blue blood moon is expected to begin around 6:49 PM tonight and should last until 9:29, according to PAGASA.

The last time that this phenomenon was visible was on May 31, 1844 in the eastern side of the United States of America. While a variation of the spectacle occurred in 1866, it happened while the moon was at its most distant from the earth. Scientists predict that the next time a similar occurrence will happen will be on 2028, but by then, it will not be coinciding with a super moon.

The moon has ever been a source of inspiration for many poets and the subject of a lot of romantic music. And indeed, there is something haunting about the pale light from the moon. Something about the way that it changes as each day passes but in time, returns to the way it was. Every night, it becomes a different version of itself, sometimes weak and ashen yet sometimes intense and dazzling.

But waxing sentimental aside, tonight’s super blue blood moon is something that cannot be missed! So who will you be watching the super blue blood moon with?

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