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January starts with wolf supermoon, ends with supermoon lunar eclipse

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First supermoon of 2018 falls on New Year's Day

January's first full moon, nicknamed a wolf moon, will take place on January 1 and it will be a supermoon.

In spite of the fact that a supermoon appears somewhat bigger in the sky than a full moon, the distinction is nearly incomprehensible for most people to see. Lunar eclipses happen when the moon goes into the shadow of the Earth, and supermoons happen when the moon's perigee (its nearest way to the Earth in a single orbit) concurs with a full moon.

Since the full moon that rises on January 31 is the second full moon in a month, it has no particular name but is a "blue moon", since it's the second to appear in a month.

In 2018 there will be two Blue Moons - one in January and one in March, February being left out without a full moon.

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The supermoon will happen the evening of January 30. The first full moon will occur in January on the night of January 1 depending upon the location.

And, that super/blue moon on January 31 will have a red sheen to it, because it will be part of a lunar eclipse, according to NASA. Then, the moon will be just 223,068 miles from Earth, compared to its average distance of 238,855 miles.

"The lunar eclipse on January 31 will be visible during moonset", Noah Petro of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center explained in a news release. In eastern North America, the eclipse will be partially visible. The best time to check out a full moon is when it's low on the horizon, during moonrise or moonset. A blue moon is the term given to a full moon that occurs twice in the same month and only happens about once every two-and-a-half to three years, though it typically doesn't actually look any different than any other full moon. The Earth, Sun, and Moon don't always lie in the same line. Totally eclipsed moons are sometimes referred to as a "blood moon", which is why the end of the month supermoon earned the special designation of "super blue blood moon". "Will have to get up in the morning to see it, but it's another great chance to watch the Moon".

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