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How to see the super blue blood moon in NYC

By Clayton Guse

Buckle up, New Yorkers—all 8.5 million of us are about to get one hell of a show. 

Early Wednesday morning, a symphony of celestial events will coincide, making for one of the most awe-inspiring full moons in recent memory. Dubbed a “super blue blood moon,” the big cheese in the sky will appear larger than usual and will temporarily take a reddish hue. The effect is the result of a lunar eclipse (when the Earth passes between the sun an the moon, casting its shadow on the latter) and a full moon that’s at perigee (or at its closest distance from Earth) occurring at the same time. It's also a blue moon, which is simply the rare occurrence of a second full moon in a calendar month. All of this together gave us the buzz word-ridden moniker.

For astronomy nerds in the city, this is a can’t-miss event. Light pollution tends to block out the vast majority of the stars in the night sky, so phenomena like lunar and solar eclipses tend to be the best opportunities to dust off the old telescope and gawk at the wonders of the universe. 

Here's what you need to know about seeing the lunar eclipse in New York City:

When will the lunar eclipse take place?

First of all, if you want to see the moon in all of its glory, you’re going to have to get up quite early on Wednesday morning. New York City and the rest of the East Coast will not be able to see a total lunar eclipse, but only a partial one. New Yorkers will be able to see the moon enter the outer part of Earth’s shadow at 5:51 am, and the darker part of the shadow will start to give the moon a reddish hue at around 6:48am, according to NASA. The moon will set less than a half an hour after it begins to turn red, at which time viewers can simply turn around and take in the final sunrise of January 2018. 

Where can I see the lunar eclipse in NYC?

The moon will set in the west-northwest portion of the sky, so if you’re heading out to see it, be sure to have a clear view of the horizon in that direction. A rooftop is a good bet, as is any stretch in Manhattan along the Hudson River that has a view unobstructed by buildings in New Jersey. If you simply don’t feel like getting out of bed before 7am, NASA is streaming the eclipse on its YouTube channel for free starting at 5:30am. 

When is the next time I can see a lunar eclipse?

The next time a lunar eclipse will be visible in New York City will be January 21, 2019. The moon will also be both full and at perigee on that day, but it will not be the second full moon of the month, making it simply a “super blood moon.”

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