The final installment in the “Supermoon Trilogy” is a special one

Thank goodness for the end of seemingly endless January. Just as if the universe had aligned the planets in order to celebrate with us, as the Gods would have it, we are seeing the alignment of three pretty remarkable elements of the moon tonight, which will make the night’s sky a treat for the ages on the last day of the month.

On the morning of January 31, we’ll be treated to a super blue blood moon, a rare treat that was last witnessed in 1866. This spectacular supermoon is the final installment in a “Supermoon Trilogy,” which began in early December 2017, and we can’t think of a better way for the month to go out.

Read more: View from Ireland 48 years ago today when America landed on the moon

What is a super blue blood moon?

A super blue blood moon. Image: iStock.

A super blue blood moon. Image: iStock.

A super blue blood moon occurs when a blue moon, a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse coincide at the one time. Having already witnessed the super “Wolf Moon” on January 1, this will be the final time that the moon will be showing off in this way for some time.

A blue moon is when two full moons appear in the one calendar month, while a supermoon occurs when the moon’s perigee (the closest distance that the lunar satellite has to Earth during its orbit) occurs at the same time as a full moon. This gives the moon an extremely large appearance in the sky.

With the super blue blood moon, we also add a total lunar eclipse into the magic. The moon will be falling completely into the Earth’s shadow at the same time, throwing it into a husky shade of red as it appears large in the night’s skies.

When and what time is the 2018 super blue blood moon visible?

A super blue blood moon. Image: iStock.

A super blue blood moon. Image: iStock.

The supermoon will reach its peak on the morning of January 31, 2018, with the total lunar eclipse beginning at 7.52am EST (12.52pm GMT) on Wednesday, January 31. It will last for one hour and 16 minutes.

Unfortunately, the supermoon is only visible in the western hemisphere and so Ireland will miss out, with even many on the east coast of the US having difficulty with visibility. For lucky Westcoasters, however, set your alarms early or have that extra cup of coffee to stay up and witness the wonder.

For the rest of us, NASA will be live streaming the event tonight from three vantage points across the west of America.

Read more: Irish in Space! The top 10 astronauts with roots in Ireland (PHOTOS)

What is the frequency of a super blue blood moon?

A super blue blood moon. Image: iStock.

A super blue blood moon. Image: iStock.

It has been over 150 years since there was last a super blue blood moon! Even more of an incentive to wrap up warm, get out and make the most of it. As long as the sky is clear, the human eye should be able to view the moon easily.

Is there a spiritual meaning to a super blue blood moon?

A super blue blood moon. Image: iStock.

A super blue blood moon. Image: iStock.

In older times, a blood moon (shade of the moon during a total lunar eclipse) caused some to make prophecies about the end of the world, as did the larger-than-life supermoon, and the blue moon for that matter. Now that we know the science behind it all, this doesn’t happen as often, although certain spiritual beliefs do attribute special meanings to them.

In today’s culture, the phrase “once in blue moon” comes from this exact phenomenon, citing the rarity of having two full moons in a calendar month.

Will you be heading out to view the super blue blood moon? Let us know where you'll be watching in the comments section, below. 

Amazing! A supermoon, blue moon and total lunar eclipse all in one go. iStock