Rare super blue moon eclipse: Eastern, south-central US to enjoy best viewing conditions
By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
January 30, 2018, 9:34:55 PM EST
The weather should not interfere with sky gazers across the eastern and south-central United States hoping to view the celestial event that has not happened in more than 150 years.
North America will be treated to a blue moon, supermoon and a lunar eclipse all at once during the early morning hours of Wednesday.
“These three lunar events separately are not uncommon, but it is rare for all three to occur at the same time,” AccuWeather Meteorologist and Astronomy Blogger Brian Lada said.
Lada stated that the last time all three events lined up for North America was on March 31, 1866.
“People all across North America will be able to see the moon light up the night sky, as long as clouds do not interfere, but only those in the central and western parts of the continent will be able to see a total lunar eclipse,” he stated.
The eclipse will enter its total phase after the moon has set along the East Coast of the U.S.
Despite only being treated to a partial lunar eclipse around dawn, most of the eastern U.S. will not have to worry about clouds blocking the show.
This includes in the major cities of New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Raleigh, North Carolina, and Atlanta.
Sky gazers will definitely want to bundle up when going outdoors to view the eclipse, along with heading to work or school.
Temperatures early Wednesday morning will range from the single digits F in northern New England to the teens and 20s in the mid-Atlantic to the upper 20s and lower 30s across most of Georgia and Alabama.
Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami will join other communities across the Florida Peninsula in dealing with some clouds streaming in from the Atlantic Ocean.
Memphis, Tennessee; Little Rock, Arkansas; Shreveport, Louisiana; Dallas and Oklahoma City will enjoy both a clear sky and the total lunar eclipse.
Temperatures will drop to near freezing by the start of the eclipse along the Mississippi River but will be held to the lower 40s along the I-35 corridor in the South Central states.
Farther to the south, low-hanging clouds may develop over Brownsville and San Antonio, Texas, and spoil the show.
Clouds will also make the eclipse difficult to view across a large part of the northern tier from the Midwest to the Northwest. That is not good news for residents in Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland, Oregon.
There may be a pocket of clearer conditions that unfolds around the Dakotas.
While a thick blanket of clouds totally ruining the show is not expected, there may be enough clouds to prevent those in the Southwest from having a clear view of the entire eclipse.
The deserts, including Phoenix, may be lucky and enjoy a clearer sky than the rest of the Southwest.
Those in Alaska and Hawaii will also be able to view the entire eclipse, depending on the weather.
Conditions will be better to view the eclipse in Hilo than Honolulu as clouds and showers will dominate the western Hawaiian islands.
Most of Alaska, including Anchorage, will be clear during the eclipse but enduring frigid air.
While the moon will appear its normal color through most of the night, Lada stated that it will turn a rusty orange or red color during the predawn hours of Jan. 31 as it passes into the Earth’s shadow.
“Unlike a total solar eclipse which lasts only minutes, this will last for several hours,” Lada said.
For those who miss out on this eclipse or cannot wait for another, the next total eclipse viewable across all of the U.S. and North America will occur on the night of Jan. 20, 2019.
“This lunar eclipse will also occur during a full supermoon, making the blood moon appear larger than the average lunar eclipse,” Lada said.
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