Following the New Year’s celebrations, stargazers were treated to ongoing natural spectacles in the night sky including two supermoons. There will be a meteor shower as well as a lunar eclipse during the course of January as well. The first supermoon occurred on the first full night of 2018. A supermoon is what happens when the full moon coincides with the closest approach of the moon to earth implying a larger impression of our satellite. It will look bigger and brighter from the ground as compared to the usual full moon.
Quadrantids Meteor Shower
In between the blue ‘supermoon’, and the lunar eclipse that is to happen at the end of the month will be a Quadrantid meteor shower that has already begun and go through to the tenth with peak activities being today night and tomorrow.
These are a less famous cousin of other annual meteor showers such as the Orionids, Geminids and Perseids. In the same way as other annual regulars, the shower comes from the constellations the streaks come from. At the peak, the meteor shower would be seen at a rate of about 40 meteors every hour. Allegedly they will seem to appear from the Bootes constellation and hit the atmosphere at a rate of 40 kilometres per second. Unfortunately, the usually dull January weather would keep this shower from being the years brightest. It would produce a few bright fireballs signifying the brightest ones.
Like the supermoon events, they are quite spectacular under the right conditions. The debris which creates the shower originate from an asteroid. This is unusual because showers are mostly a result of the earth passing through the tail of a comet. In this case, it may be possible the Quadrantids are from a ‘dead celestial body’, or a different orbiting object.
Supermoon Lunar Eclipse
The January 31st supermoon is to be punctuated by a complete lunar eclipse. This happens when the earth is in a position between the moon and the soon which blots out the view of the moon. The total eclipse will be visible in several areas of the globe including, eastern Europe, the Pacific, middle east, north and south America as well as, Asia and eastern Africa.
They are also known ‘blood moons’ on account of the red hue on the surface of the moon, are the reflected sunrises and sunsets on earth. That would make this a lifetime spectacle considering it is a ‘ super blue blood moon’. The total eclipse of a blue moon has not happened in more than a 150 years apparently. The entire eclipse of the supermoon will start at 6.49 pm and is going to end at 12.09 am on the 1st of February.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, it will be safe to watch and observers will not need any kind of protective filters for their eyes. The last lunar eclipse took place in September 2015, but not of the supermoon variety which happened in 1866 allegedly. The only other lunar eclipse phenomenon this year will occur in July but will not be viewable from the United States.