lunar eclipse

On January 31st (this Wednesday) starting at 7:51pm and ending at 9:07pm, Thailand will witness a rare ‘Super Blue Blood Moon’.

All BISP students are invited to take a photo of the eclipse and submit it in jpeg format by email to Mr. Iain Richardson, Head of Science Faculty at BISP ([email protected]). The best place to view the eclipse from Phuket will be Saphan Hin. Click here to read the story on Phuket News. Astronomers from Phuket Rajabhat University have invited everyone to join them there to view the eclipse through their telescope.

A ‘count down’ for the event can also be viewed here.

This month’s full moon is special. It is being billed as a Super Blue Blood Moon. You can view it this Wednesday evening as soon as the Moon has risen above the horizon in the Eastern/Northeastern sky.

The term blue moon has nothing to do with the moon’s colour. It refers to the second of two full moons occurring in one calendar month and happens about every 2.7 years. What makes this blue moon so interesting is that it will coincide with a supermoon and a full lunar eclipse. The last time this trifecta occurred was 150 years ago and you’ll have to wait until 2028 to have a chance of seeing it again.

A supermoon refers to the size and brightness of the Moon. The Moon’s orbit is elliptical and the closest point of the orbit is referred to as perigee. When this occurs at the same time as a full moon, the Moon will appear slightly larger and up to 14% brighter than normal.

The highlight of Wednesday evening, however, will be the full lunar eclipse. This occurs when the Moon falls into the Earth’s shadow and is also known as a blood moon. The reddish colour is caused by the scattering of different wavelengths of sunlight. Short wavelength blue and violet colours are scattered more than red and orange. These refract (bend) in the Earth’s atmosphere and turn the Moon blood red. Don’t imagine that the warm glow would be remotely warm on the surface of the Moon. As Earth’s shadow falls, the surface temperature of the Moon drops from 100℃ to -175℃ in the space of about 20 minutes!

– Iain Richardson, Head of Science Faculty