Don't you just love social media? (I'm being sarcastic)
Posts about the SUPERBLUEBLOODMOON plus a LUNAR ECLIPSE on Jan. 31 are setting the internet on fire. So what's the real story?
Three things will be happening on Jan. 31
Let's start with the Supermoon.
Until, recently, astronomers didn't really use this term. It was an Astrology thing.
An astrologer, not an astronomer, coined the term supermoon, and it has come into wide usage only recently. It’s an example of modern folklore, largely accepted and spread by a now-global community, via word of mouth and the Internet.
Even though the supermoon is a "Thing" it doesn't mean a lot when you are looking at it. It'll look bigger but not as big as you are seeing in some posts out there. Some astronomers, like Richmond-based Justin Bartel, point out the supermoon doesn't make as big a difference as the name "Super" implies.
tl;dr: "Keep in mind that a 14% increase in the apparent size of something that can be covered with a fingernail on an outstretched arm won’t seem significantly bigger." #itsjustthemoon #everyfullmoonissuper #justlookupeveryonceinawhileandignorepseudoastrologicalbuzzwords https://t.co/cfjePsUgXe— Justin-in-the-round (@cephalopernicus) December 4, 2017
What about a "Blue Moon"?
Blue moon is another former Astrology term. It's a term given to a 2nd full moon in a month. It doesn't happen often but a blue moon doesn't LOOK any different than a full moon. Even if it has a cool name. The full moon names you hear, Like Blood Moon, Harvest Moon, etc. are also from folklore.
Now, this is a real thing! But sadly, it won't put on much of a show this month. In my years here at NBC12, I've spent a great deal of TV time trying to convince you to go outside and look at lunar eclipses. A lunar eclipse is when the moon enters the earth's shadow. But the eclipse on Jan. 31st will be getting underway just as it's setting beneath the western horizon.
Here's a great animation from Timeanddate.com You can see the East Coast of the United States, Including Richmond, won't get much of a show.
I don't want to be a party pooper, but I guess on this one that's what I'm doing. But keep in mind, whether "Super" or not, the moon and stars are always up there, being GREAT. For me: that'll do just fine.
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