This New Year will be special for more than one reason. A rare supermoon phenomenon rocks the sky on the first day of 2018. A rare alignment of the calendar cycle, as well as the lunar cycle, is the main reason behind this event. As per reports from NASA, New Year’s first full moon will appear on 1st January 2018. This moon is called Super Moon or wolf moon. Moreover, this New Year’s full moon is believed to be the brightest and biggest in recent times.
Astronomers are getting ready for a rare celestial treat as this supermoon is second in the ‘Supermoon Trilogy’. The first one emerged on 3rd December 2017.
What Is A Supermoon?
Supermoon phenomenon occurs when a complete moon(full moon) concurs with the perigee of the moon. This ensures the moon looks up to 30 times brighter and 14 times larger than usual.
Remember, the moon’s orbit is not perfectly circular. Eventually, the distance varies a little bit. The perigee for New Year’s supermoon is the closest of 2018.
Supermoons don’t occur every month due to moon’s orbit orientation changes. Hence, a new moon or a full moon will not always happen at perigee or apogee.
Where And When To Catch The Supermoon?
Because of time variation, people active in the Eastern part of the world will catch sight of this super-moon on 2nd January. People active on the other side (Western) will view the supermoon on 1st January.
For enthusiasts in New York City, the event will appear at EST 4:34 p.m in the direction of the east-northeastern sky. The moon might appear near or in the Gemini constellation.
The moon appears full at around EST (9.24 p.m); 2nd January- 2018 (Tuesday) 0224 GMT). The peak becomes visible when the moon reaches perigee. The moon’s closest point to this planet for the month is the perigee. This occurs at 2124 GMT (4:54 p.m EST).
The third in the series is due to happen on 31st January. It will be known as the Blue moon. The moon reaches perigee at 0954 GMT or 4:54 a.m EST on 30th January. Subsequently, the moon reaches its complete phase at 1327 GMT or 08:27 a.m EST. A full lunar eclipse happens on that day.
NASA designates the 31st January event as the “super blue blood moon”.
Consequently, the moon remains at a distance of 356, 565 kilometres or 221,559 miles from our planet.
Key Facts About 2018 New Year’s Supermoon
- The upcoming supermoon is actually the next one in the ‘supermoon trilogy’.
- All in all, the third supermoon appears on 31st
- The first supermoon transpired near perigee this year on 3rd
- The 31st January supermoon happens during a complete lunar eclipse. This is the second full moon for the month of January.
How The Wolf-Moon Got Its Current Name?
According to an old tradition, the name given to the full moon in January is Snow Moon, Moon after Yule, or Old Moon. This moon is also called as “Full Wolf Moon” because in olden days wolves would roam howling outside the villages.
The full moon in February is called as “Full Snow Moon”. Since the month of January witnesses two full moons, February will have no full moon.