CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The moon is providing a rare triple treat this week.
On Wednesday, much of the world will get to see not only a blue moon and a supermoon, but also a total lunar eclipse, all rolled into one. There hasn’t been a triple lineup like this since 1982 and the next won’t occur until 2037.
The best viewing of the eclipse will be throughout the Pacific into Asia, including in Hawaii. It will start shortly before 1 a.m. Hawaii time Wednesday, and will last for a little more than an hour.
A blue moon is the second full moon in a month. A supermoon is a particularly close full or new moon, appearing somewhat brighter and bigger. A total lunar eclipse — or blood moon for its reddish tinge — has the moon completely bathed in Earth’s shadow.
“I’m calling it the Super Bowl of moons,” said lunar scientist Noah Petro on Monday from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Either way, it’s guaranteed to impress, provided the skies are clear.
The moon will actually be closest to Earth today — just more than 223,000 miles. That’s about 1,500 miles farther than this year’s New Year’s Day supermoon. Midway through Wednesday’s eclipse, the moon will be even farther away — 223,820 miles — but still within unofficial supermoon guidelines.
As the sun lines up perfectly with the Earth and then moon for the eclipse, scientists will make observations from a telescope in Hawaii, while also collecting data from NASA’s moon-circling Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched in 2009.
NASA will provide a live stream of the moon from telescopes in California and Arizona, beginning at 1:30 a.m. Hawaii time.