January 2018 lunar eclipse

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Total lunar eclipse
January 31, 2018
Ecliptic north up
Lunar eclipse chart close-2018Jan31.png
The Moon passed through Earth's shadow as it moved eastward (right to left) along its orbit.
Saros (and member) 124 (49 of 74)
Gamma −0.3014
Duration (hr:mn:sc)
Totality 1:16:04
Partial 3:22:44
Penumbral 5:17:12
Contacts (UTC)
P1 10:51:15
U1 11:48:27
U2 12:51:47
Greatest 13:29:50
U3 14:07:51
U4 15:11:11
P4 16:08:27

A total lunar eclipse occurred on January 31, 2018. The Moon was near its perigee on January 30 and as such may be described as a "supermoon", when the Moon's distance from the Earth is less than 360,000 km (223,694 miles). The previous supermoon lunar eclipse was in September 2015.[1]

During the total lunar eclipse of Wednesday, 31 January 2018, the Moon was 360,202 km (only 202 km to be a Super Full Moon) (223,819 mi) from the Earth. A blue moon occurs because there are 2 full moons in the same calendar month, or if there are 4 full moons in the same season (third of four is blue moon). As this supermoon was also a blue moon (the second full moon in a calendar month), it was referred to as a "super blue blood moon"; "blood" refers to the typical red color of the Moon during a total lunar eclipse. The 31 January, 2018 lunar event was called 'Trifecta'.[2] This coincidence last occurred on December 30, 1982 for the eastern hemisphere,[3] and otherwise before that on March 31, 1866.[4][5] The next occurrence will be on January 31, 2037, one metonic cycle (19 years) later.


A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes within Earth's umbra (shadow). As the eclipse begins, Earth's shadow first darkens the Moon slightly. Then, the shadow begins to "cover" part of the Moon, turning it a dark red-brown color (typically – the color can vary based on atmospheric conditions). The Moon appears to be reddish because of Rayleigh scattering (the same effect that causes sunsets to appear reddish) and the refraction of that light by Earth's atmosphere into its umbra.[6]

The following simulation shows the approximate appearance of the Moon passing through Earth's shadow. The northern portion of the Moon is closest to the center of the shadow, making it darkest and reddest in appearance.

Animation January 18 2018 lunar eclipse appearance.gif

"Super blue blood moon"[edit]

This was a "supermoon", as the Moon was near to its closest distance to earth in its elliptical orbit, making it 7% larger in apparent diameter or 14% larger in area, than an average full moon. The previous supermoon lunar eclipse was the September 2015 lunar eclipse.[1]

The full moon of 31 January 2018 was the second full moon that calendar month (in most time zones), making it, under one definition of the term, a "blue moon".

Additionally referencing the orange or red "blood" colors that occur during a lunar eclipse, media sources described the event as a "super blue blood Moon".[7]



The Pacific Ocean was turned toward the Moon at the time of the eclipse. Central and eastern Asia (including most of Siberia), Philippines, Indonesia, New Zealand and most of Australia got a good view of this moon show in the evening sky. For Western Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, the eclipse was underway as the moon rose.[8]

Along the U.S. West Coast, the total phase began at 4:51 a.m. PST. The further east, the closer the start of the partial phases coincided with moonset. Along the U.S. Atlantic Seaboard, for instance, the Moon had only just begun to enter the darkest part of Earth's shadow, the umbra, at 6:48 a.m. EST when it disappeared from view below the west-northwest horizon. The duration of the total phase was 77 minutes, with the Moon tracking through the southern part of the Earth's shadow. During totality, the Moon's lower limb appeared brighter than the dark upper limb.[8]

Lunar eclipse from moon-2018Jan31.png
View of earth from moon during greatest eclipse
Visibility Lunar Eclipse 2018-01-31.png
Visibility map


Event timing by time zone
Zone from UTC −10 h −9 h −8 h −7 h −6 h −5 h 0 h +3 h +5½ h +7 h +8 h +9 h +11 h +13 h
Penumbral eclipse begins 00:51 01:51 02:51 03:51 04:51 05:51 10:51 13:51 17:51 18:51 19:51 21:51 23:51
Partial eclipse begins 01:48 02:48 03:48 04:48 05:48 06:48 11:48 14:48 17:18 18:48 19:48 20:48 22:48 00:48
Total eclipse begins 02:52 03:52 04:52 05:52 06:52 12:52 15:52 18:22 19:52 20:52 21:52 23:52 01:52
Mid-eclipse 03:30 04:30 05:30 06:30 13:30 16:30 19:00 20:30 21:30 22:30 00:30 02:30
Total eclipse ends 04:08 05:08 06:08 07:08 14:08 17:08 19:38 21:08 22:08 23:08 01:08 03:08
Partial eclipse ends 05:11 06:11 07:11 15:11 18:11 20:41 22:11 23:11 00:11 02:11 04:11
Penumbral eclipse ends 06:08 07:08 16:08 19:08 21:38 23:08 00:08 01:08 03:08 05:08


North America[edit]

Asia and Middle East[edit]


Related eclipses[edit]

Eclipses of 2018[edit]

The January 2018 lunar eclipse is the first ascending node eclipse of the lunar eclipse series sets from 2016–2020. It is also part of Saros cycle 124.

A similar eclipse occurs on January 31, 2037, one metonic cycle of 19 years in the future.

Half-Saros cycle[edit]

A lunar eclipse will be preceded and followed by solar eclipses by 9 years and 5.5 days (a half saros).[9] This lunar eclipse is related to two annular solar eclipses of Solar Saros 131.

January 26, 2009 February 6, 2027
SE2009Jan26A.png SE2027Feb06A.png

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Super Blue Moon eclipse on January 31, Earthsky.org, January 30 2018
  2. ^ "'Super Blue Blood Moon' Coming Jan. 31, 2018". NASA. January 18, 2018. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  3. ^ Blue moon, based on the previous full moon, was either on November 30 or December 1, 1982 based on time zones.
  4. ^ Rare 'Super Blue Blood Moon' Coming—First in 35 Years, National Geographic, January 29, 2018
  5. ^ Mathewson, Samantha (January 30, 2018). "The Super Blue Blood Moon Wednesday Is Something the US Hasn't Seen Since 1866". Space.com. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  6. ^ Fred Espenak & Jean Meeus. "Visual Appearance of Lunar Eclipses". NASA. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  7. ^ Gill, Victoria (31 January 2018). "Skywatchers see 'super blue blood Moon'". BBC News. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  8. ^ a b Rao, Joe. "First Blue Moon Total Lunar Eclipse in 150 Years Coming This Month". Space.com. Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  9. ^ Mathematical Astronomy Morsels, Jean Meeus, p.110, Chapter 18, The half-saros

External links[edit]