Crank up the Van Morrison and sing along to “Moondance” because early this Wednesday morning, Southern California will become the hottest spot for the coolest lunar eclipse since well, the mid-1800s. Starting at 3:41 a.m. Wednesday, a Super Blue Blood Moon will rise majestically in our fair sky, peaking at 5:29 a.m. By 6:07 a.m. the whole thing will be over.
The last time the western hemisphere caught sight of a Super Blue Blood Moon was in 1866, which coincidentally was the same year the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 14 Amendment, the world’s first roller rink opened in Newport, Rhode Island and on a lighter note, a man named Andrew Rankin patented the urinal. (Perspective, people.)
Anyway, back to the Super Blue Blood Moon. According to the national weather service, skies above Southern California will be relatively clear Wednesday with a splattering of clouds. Also, not to brag or anything but experts say the Golden State will be prime real estate to watch the celestial show.
“For the (continental) U.S., the viewing will be best in the West,” said Gordon Johnston, program executive and lunar blogger at NASA HQ in Washington. “Set your alarm early and go out and take a look.”
NASA officials characterize a super moon as 14% larger than normal and 30% brighter, occurring when the moon is closest to the Earth. To make matters slightly more confusing, it’s called “blue” not because of its color—that’ll be red—but because it’s the second full moon to happen in a single calendar month, (the first was on Jan. 1). The “blood” part of its title does refer to the hue, a reddish tint that is observable when the earth passes between the moon and the sun.
Lunar Scientist Noah Petro told the AP Monday from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland: “I’m calling it the Super Bowl of moons.”
OK moon, let’s dance.
P.S. If you can’t get yourself up or just want to watch from the comfort of your bedroom, the Griffith Observatory in L.A. is live-streaming the whole shindig. Check that out here.