Expert tips on how to watch, photograph Wednesday's super blue blood moon


Robert Astalos, professor of physics, encourages the campus and community to view the full lunar eclipse on January 31.

Next week our solar system will deliver unto us a Super Blue Blood Moon. The full moon on that date happens to be the second full moon of the month, or a blue moon.

Drum roll, please: according to Forbes magazine, blue moons make up about 3 percent of all full moons, supermoons are approximately 25 percent of all full moons, and total lunar eclipses occur during 5.6 percent of full moons. Will the moon glow blue, red or even purple? While in the Earth's shadow, the moon will take on a reddish tint. For Californians, totality will begin at 4:51 a.m. PT with the best viewing between 5 a.m. PT and 6 a.m. PT. "Those who get up early in the west will have the opportunity to see the full eclipse, but for those of us on the east coast, we'll only see a partial eclipse-the moon will set before it reaches totality". The exact time of moonset depends on the western horizon - it will be earlier if there are hills or mountains to the west. On Wednesday, there is a chance to see a quite astounding moon trifecta: super, blue, and blood. On an average, Blue Moons occur around only once every two and a half years.

Scroll down to learn more about what exactly a super blue blood moon is and the best way to view it in the city. "The moon is handsome nearly every night in nearly every phase, you don't have to wait for a "supermoon" or a "blue moon" to enjoy it", she said.

As the first word in its long title suggests, this is considered a supermoon, which is when a full moon coincides with the moon's closest approach to Earth on its elliptical orbit (known as perigee).

While New Yorkers will still be able to appreciate the "super" and "blue" parts to the phenomena, the timing of the eclipse (the "blood" part) makes it harder for people on the East Coast to see it.

Watching the solar eclipse from geeky to wacky
Watching the solar eclipse from geeky to wacky

Taking a photo of the moon is "a little bit hard", said Honda, the New York City-based photographer.

If a smartphone is the only photography tool available, Honda said the best thing to do is to adjust your phone manually.

"That's a lot better than standing and holding your phone in your hands", he added. At its most technical, a blood moon is a series of four consecutive lunar eclipses or tetrad, which is not the case for the upcoming eclipse.

Biderman also suggested scouting locations before the actual event.

During the phenomenon, the full moon appears about 14 percent and 30 percent brighter that it would during regular full moons. This occurs when Earth is located directly between the sun and the moon.

For a close-up of the moon, or what Biderman calls a "crater-licious shot" where the viewer can see the details of the moon, photographers can use a point-shoot camera with a big zoom or even a telescope, he said.

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