January 2018 has TWO supermoons - and one is especially rare - FOX Carolina 21

January 2018 has TWO supermoons - and one is especially rare

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(Source: Associated Press) (Source: Associated Press)

In addition to kicking off a new calendar year, January 2018 is expected to have an interesting astronomical phenomenon.

While 2017 saw only one supermoon in December, January has two more, forming a series of three back-to-back supermoons.

The first will be on the night of Jan. 1. According to EarthSky.org, the year's first supermoon will be closer and larger than the December supermoon or the one later in January. The full moon distance at approximately 9:30 p.m. EST will be 356,846 kilometers from Earth.

A second supermoon, also a "blue moon" because it is the second full moon in one month, will occur on Jan. 31 and will feature a lunar eclipse. The western U.S. is in the path of totality for the eclipse, although the eastern U.S. will only see a partial eclipse.

“The lunar eclipse on January 31 will be visible during moonset. Folks in the Eastern United States, where the eclipse will be partial, will have to get up in the morning to see it,” said NASA research scientist Noah Petro. “But it’s another great chance to watch the Moon.”

The blue supermoon will be closest to the Earth around 8:30 a.m. EST with a distance of 360,199 kilometers. Totally-eclipsed moons are sometimes called "blood moons" because of their color so the western U.S. will see a "super blue blood" moon!

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