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Look for the supermoon on New Year's Day (night)

02 January 2018, 11:52 | Hattie Nash

Look for the supermoon on New Year's Day (night)

First Blue Moon total eclipse in 150 years coming this month

"January 2018 is a very special month", says the Old Farmer's Almanac. A supermoon occurs when the moon becomes full the same day it reaches its perigee, its closest point to Earth in its monthly orbit.

When the moon hits its close point (perigee) in its orbit around Earth at the same time as the full moon, this is when a "Supermoon" will occur.

It was known by early Native American tribes as the "wolf moon", because this was the time of the year when hungry wolf packs howled outside their camps.

In the United Kingdom, the peak point was just before 2.30am on Tuesday but we reckon it looked pretty impressive earlier in the evening!

Blue moon, PAGASA said, refers to the second of two full moons occurring in the same month.

Brian Sheen from the Roseland Observatory told Pirate FM that the second will be on the 31st of the month.

Each full moon features a name, such as Wolf Moon for January, Snow Moon for February and Harvest Moon for September. It appears 14% bigger than normal and is therefore pretty spectactular and attracts a lot of attention. "Normally, we are used to seeing the full moon rising above the eastern horizon, but this time it will be best to watch it setting over the western horizon early in the morning", he explained. A total lunar eclipse happens when the moon passes completely through the Earth's shadow.

"The best thing about this, with lunar eclipses it doesn't matter where you are because the moon is so bright and visible", Bonadurer said.

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Don't expect a blue color, though, the event has nothing to with the color of the moon.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Filipinos are in for several spectacles of the evening sky with the occurrence of a total lunar eclipse on January 31, which will be visible throughout the country. This will also occur during a total lunar eclipse which also takes place on January 31, 2018.

Noah Petro, a research scientist from Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center, said the three supermoons were flawless chances to get into sky gazing. That was the first and only supermoon of 2017.

New Year celebrations will begin with a touch of caution in Goa, with tourism authorities in the coastal state warning of unusual tidal activity and possible flooding of beaches on Monday due to the supermoon phenomenon on January 2. The next supermoon will be on January 31.

This will be the "biggest full moon of 2018".

There will be more than just fireworks lighting up the night sky for the new year.

"Shack owners, water sports operators and other activities on the beaches are hereby directed to be on high alert on January 1-2 and January 30 and shall take all precautionary measures for avoiding any dangers to life and property", D'Souza added.



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