Here’s Where to Watch NASA's Livestream of the Super Blue Blood Moon

YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images
YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images

Early on Wednesday, January 31, space lovers will be blessed with a trifecta of celestial treats: a supermoon, a blue moon, and a lunar eclipse. Combined, the three events will create what's known as a super blue blood moon (say that three times fast), an ultra-big and bright moon with a reddish tint. Those with clear skies in Alaska, Hawaii, and on the West Coast can watch the phenomenon starting at 4:52 a.m. PT, but NASA will also livestream the event so no one is left out.

As Popular Mechanics reports, the NASA TV and NASA.gov livestream will start at 2:30 a.m. PT (5:30 a.m. for East Coasters), right before the eclipse enters its earliest phase. It's slated to run until 7 a.m. PT (10 a.m. ET), with telescopes positioned at the Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California; LA's Griffith Observatory; and the University of Arizona's Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter Observatory.

Know what a lunar eclipse is, but don't know how a supermoon or blue moon makes the show any more special? Here's a breakdown of what will be going down during the early dawn hours tomorrow. A supermoon occurs when a full Moon's orbit moves it near to Earth, or at perigee, making it appear around 14 percent brighter than normal. This big, glowing Moon will pass through the Earth's shadow, giving it a reddish tint (hence the name ("blood moon"). As for "blue moon," it's simply a term used to describe the second full moon of a calendar month and has nothing to do with the Moon's actual color.

The last super blue blood moon was recorded on December 30, 1982 and the next one isn't expected until January 31, 2037. And for Americans, it's been several lifetimes since the celestial phenomenon has made an appearance: A super blue blood moon was last seen here in 1866.  

"Weather permitting, the West Coast, Alaska, and Hawaii will have a spectacular view of totality from start to finish," said Greg Johnston, a NASA program executive and lunar blogger, in a statement. "Unfortunately, eclipse viewing will be more challenging in the Eastern time zone. The eclipse begins at 5:51 a.m. ET, as the Moon is about to set in the western sky, and the sky is getting lighter in the east."

Stuck on another coast, or with bad weather? You can still take part in the experience by watching NASA's livestream, and by following @NASAMoon. Keep a close lookout for the Moon's glowing red stage, which begins at 4:52 a.m. PT and 7:52 ET and will last for around 1 hour, 16 minutes.

Since tomorrow's moon is the third in a series of recent supermoons (the others occurred on December 3, 2017, and January 1, 2018), NASA celebrated by creating the video tribute to the trio below.

[h/t Popular Mechanics]

A Rare ‘Full Cold Moon Kiss’ Is Coming This Week—Here’s How to See It

jamesvancouver/iStock via Getty Images
jamesvancouver/iStock via Getty Images

Every year ends with a cold moon—the name given to a full moon that appears in December. The full cold moon that's lighting up skies in 2019 will come with a bonus spectacle for sky-gazers. As Forbes reports, a planetary "kiss" between Saturn and Venus will coincide with the last full moon of the year. Here's what you need to know about the astronomical events.

What is a Full Cold Moon Kiss?

The full moon of each month has a unique nickname associated with the time of year it occurs. A cold moon happens as temperatures drop and winter settles in, hence the name. December's full moon has also been called the long nights moon by some Native American tribes and the moon Before Yule in Europe, according to Travel and Leisure.

This year's moon will be visible the night of December 11 through the morning of December 12. On this same night, the planets Venus and Saturn will appear closer than usual in the night sky. The celestial bodies will be less than 2° apart and share a celestial longitude, a phenomena known as a conjunction or a planetary "kiss."

How to See the Full Cold Moon Kiss

During twilight on Tuesday, December 10, the bright planet Venus and the dimmer planet Saturn will arrive at their closest conjunction, 1.8° apart, above the southwestern horizon. The following evening, they'll be just .01° further away. Stick around the night of Wednesday, December 11 to catch the full cold moon, which reaches peak illumination at 9:12 p.m. on the West Coast and at 12 minutes after midnight on the East Coast.

Not planning on staying up late to see the moon reach its fullest state? Moonrise on December 11 will be just as spectacular. When the moon surfaces around sunset, it will appear larger and more reddish in color in the sky. Meanwhile, Venus's and Saturn's kiss will be visible 180º away.

[h/t Forbes]

First-Ever Map of Titan Reveals That Saturn’s Moon Is a Lot Like Earth

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. Arizona/Univ. Idaho
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. Arizona/Univ. Idaho

If there's any life in this solar system outside Earth, we likely won't find it on Mars or even on another planet. Saturn's moon Titan is the place in our celestial neighborhood that's most similar to our own home, and it's where scientists think we have one of the best chances of discovering life. Now, as Nature reports, newly visualized data shows just how much Titan has in common with Earth.

Between 2004 and 2017, the NASA spacecraft Cassini performed more than 100 fly-bys of Saturn's moon. Titan is unique in that it's the only moon in the solar system with clouds and a dense, weather-forming atmosphere. This has made it hard to study from space, but by flying close to the surface, Cassini was able to capture the landscape in an unprecedented level of detail.

Map of Titan.
The first global geologic map of Titan.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

NASA's new map of Titan, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, reveals a varied world of mountains, valleys, plains, and sandy dunes that starkly contrast with the desolate wastelands we've seen on neighboring planets. It's also home to seas and lakes, making it the only place in the solar system other than Earth with known bodies of liquid. But instead of water, the pools mottling the moon's surface consist of liquid methane.

Even with its Earth-like geology and atmosphere, chances of finding life on Titan are still slim: Temperatures on the surface average around -300°F. If life does exist there, it's likely limited to microbes in the moon's craters and icy volcanoes.

It will be a while before NASA is able to study Titan up close again: NASA's next drone mission to the body is set for 2034. Until then, scientists have plenty of data recorded by Cassini to teach them more about how the moon formed and continues to change.

[h/t Nature]

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