Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird … It’s a plane … It’s … It’s … It’s a Super Blue Moon Total Lunar Eclipse and we should be able to see it later this month!

It’s a very rare thing. In fact, this combination of … ahem ... lunacy … hasn’t taken place in the skies over North America since the Johnson administration in ‘66. That would be Andrew Johnson, president of the United States of America from 1865 to 1869.

Sure, individually these things happen fairly regularly. A Blue Moon is the second full moon in a calendar month and they take place about once every 2.7 years.

A Supermoon is when we have a full moon at the moon’s closest orbital point, its perigee, making the full moon appear up to 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than normal. This Supermoon is the third in a trilogy that began with the only 2017 Supermoon on December 3rd and also included the Supermoon on January 1st of this year.  .

Finally, a Total Lunar Eclipse happens when Earth’s position is between the sun and the moon, causing Earth’s shadow to darken our view of the lunar surface. These are sometimes called Blood Moons. While lunar eclipses happen with some regularity, this is the only one visible from Wichita Falls in 2018.

So, these things happen on a regular basis, but to get them all together at one time? Now, that’s something special. And it happens later this month. Keep your eyes on the skies the night of January 30th into the 31st. For most of the night, the moon will simply be full, but in the predawn hours ending about 7:30 a.m., just before the moon sets, we should see this rare celestial phenomenon, a Super Blue Moon Total Lunar Eclipse.

We could really use some rain, but let’s hope for clear skies that night because the next total lunar eclipse visible in North America won’t be until January 20th, 2019. And that will just be a plain old lunar eclipse.

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