Rare 'blue supermoon' total eclipse to occur in Singapore on 31 January

A NASA graphic of a supermoon

This happens at least twice a year - but in this case, it's the fact that all these events coincide that makes it so cool.

The second full moon of the month will occur on January 31, marking the first of two "blue" moons in 2018 - and, this will line up with a total lunar eclipse, which will turn the moon a striking red color for what's known as the 'Blood Moon'.

On January 31, it will happen in the middle of the night, when the Pacific Ocean faces the moon. The best views of the middle-of-the-night eclipse will be in central and eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia, although Alaska and Hawaii will get a glimpse, too.

The duration of the Blue Moon total lunar eclipse will be 77 minutes as the moon will track through the southern part of the Earth's shadow. This upcoming supermoon is the third in a trilogy - the brightest was the recent January 1 supermoon. This place situated on its orbit is called the perigee, and the moon will appear a lot bigger and brighter than usual.

Also called a "Wolf Moon" because in early times it appeared when wolves howled in hunger outside the villages, its arrival caused tidal surges worldwide. But since it's rare to get a second full moon in a month, that moon doesn't have a name, making it a "blue moon". This only happens every two to three years on average, giving rise to the saying "once in a blue moon".

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This accounts for the first event in the Super Blue Blood Moon day.

The first one is, just like at the beginning of the month, a supermoon.

This NASA chart by eclipse expert Fred Espenak details the visibility range and times for the January 31, 218 total lunar eclipse, which also occurs during a blue moon and near a supermoon.

The moon, which lies 385,000km away, guides life on Earth by creating its tidal rhythm and moderating the planet's axis and stabilising the climate. The moon rotates around the Earth every 27.322 days, and we get a new full moon approximately every 29.5 days (those numbers don't match exactly due to elliptical orbits).

"The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the moon, not just that once but every chance they have", said Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre.

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