First supermoon of 2018 coincides with New Year's Day

  • First supermoon of 2018 coincides with New Year's Day

First supermoon of 2018 coincides with New Year's Day

Lunar eclipses happen when the moon goes into the shadow of the Earth, and supermoons happen when the moon's perigee (its nearest way to the Earth in a single orbit) concurs with a full moon.

For those people in the United States, the full moon will appear on first day of January at approximately 9:24 P.M. That's because thanks to a fluke alignment between the lunar cycle and our calendar cycle, we'll be starting off the new year with a brand new full moon.

Wherever you are in the Northern Hemisphere, the Full Wolf Moon will be hard to miss: Though it doesn't boast any special color changes like a blood moon, it will be bright and piercing in the night sky.

The "blue" piece of the January 31's moon's title refers to a coincidence in how the lunar cycle aligns with our calendar.

Another supermoon will take place on January 31, and according to NASA, it will also feature a total lunar eclipse. On Jan. 1, 2018 is the Wolf Moon, which received its name from Native Americans, who named the moon after the choruses of howling (and breeding) wolves around their communities.

Blue Moons are not as uncommon as it is believed.

Lunar eclipses can only occur during a full moon, but they don't occur every single full moon, since the Earth's orbit around the sun and the moon's orbit around Earth have little wobbles in them that sometimes prevent a flawless alignment.

At that time, the lower left edge of the moon will start to fade, and at 3:48 a.m., a sharp bite will appear to be missing from that edge, caused by the dark inner shadow of the Earth, the umbra. The super moon term itself has been in use since 1979, according to NASA, when it was coined by an astrologer, but it is met with mixed responses from astronomers.

So the moon won't be as bright, but it will "take on an eerie, fainter-than-normal glow", NASA says, and could take on a "reddish hue". The usual distance is somewhere around 238,855 miles or 384,400 km.

An uncommon thing might happen this January.