Bark At The Moon
January 30, 2018

How to watch the ‘Super Blue Blood Moon’ and not be devoured by hideous demons from the other side

Nature

Prisma Bildagentur

We here on Earth have just the one moon. You’ve probably seen it — it’s the one that controls the oceans and that NASA faked landing on in 1969. (I don’t care what the MythBusters say, LOOK AT THE SHADOWS, SHEEPLE). Yet this one single moon can transform into a great many things, such as a full moon, crescent moon, gibbous moon, blue moon, harvest moon, sailor moon and Warren Moon, which is when it turns light blue and you can see the “1” on its side really well. Sometimes it even dances, if the night is marvelous enough. Last year, the moon even decided to be a jerk and block out sunlight to the entire United States, an astronomical practical joke that we responded to by hopping in the van and driving to Kentucky to see it.

But Wednesday morning will find the moon turning into something else entirely: a “super blue blood moon,” a curious galactic occurrence that we will discuss as soon as we find someplace online where Neil deGrasse Tyson explains it. Hang on.

Why does it have such a long name? Mostly, it sounds cool, and NASA needs things to sound cool, since most people are significantly less excited about the boundless wonders of space than brand influencers on Twitter. But it’s a mix of three things. A “blood moon” happens when the moon sneaks behind the shadow of the Earth during a lunar eclipse. A “blue moon” is the second full moon to occur in the same month. A “supermoon” happens when the moon is closer to Earth than usual, though the visible difference can be insignificant enough to send Tyson on an entertaining Twitter rant. On Wednesday morning, all these things happen at once, which results in a rare astrological phenomenon and, of course, the unleashing of gruesome hell-demons from the other side. Lock your doors before you go to bed, although that won’t do much, the demons can eat through them pretty easily.

How do I watch the super blue blood moon? Look up.

No, like, what direction? UGH FINE, to the west-northwest, look go outside, point your eyes up and look for the big red thing, we’re not your dad.

When should I set my alarm? If you’re on the east coast, the moon will pass through earth’s outer shadow (the penumbra) at about 5:51 a.m., and enter the darker portion (the umbra) about 6:48 a.m. But the sun will be coming up, and if you’re in New York City, you’ll be waiting 40 minutes for a train underground anyway. In the Midwest, 6:15 a.m.-6:30 a.m. Central time is your red moon butter zone. If you’re in Mountain Time, the show will be best at 6:30 a.m. And if you’re on the west coast, you’re the luckiest moonwatchers in the states: You can see the whole shebang, which will start at 4:15 a.m., peak at 5:30 a.m. and wrap up at 6:05. (If you are reading this from eastern Asia or Australia, you’ll see a better show than the rest of us. Also, what are you doing awake?)

Do I need to wear the military-grade welder’s mask I purchased for last year’s solar eclipse? No! I mean, you can, if you want. But this is the moon, which you can look at safely with your eyes. (You can’t look directly at the sun without burning out your optic nerves, unless you’re Trump.)

I’m a huge moon fan — where is the single best place I can go to see it? Weirdly enough, the best place to see it is on the moon itself! Which is great if you’re a flag or Marvin the Martian, but bad news for the rest of us, as to safely get to the moon you’d have had to start driving about four months ago. It would be a show, though: Gordon Johnston, program executive at NASA, told the New York Times that if you were standing on the moon, “You would see a red circle of sunlight scattered toward the moon by the Earth’s atmosphere. You would be seeing the glow of all the sunrises and sunsets on Earth, all at the same time.” And man you would totally want to snap a pic and tweet that sh*t.