Lunar trifecta: blue moon, super moon, total lunar eclipse tonight

What does it all mean, can we see it in Jacksonville?

By Mark Collins - Meteorologist
Twitter/@AstroKomrade via CNN

View from the International Space Station shows the blue limb of the Earth's atmosphere but not the "Blue Moon"

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Look up tonight, for the sky will be clear and the blue moon will shine above. But this will also coincide with a super moon and a total lunar eclipse. So what do all these names mean and can they happen all at once?

Tonight's super moon is when it appears slightly larger and brighter. This effect is due to the moon traveling closer to Earth, called perigee.

A lunar eclipse occurs early Wednesday morning, just 27 hours after the moon's closest approach to Earth on its elliptical orbit and you could see some of it.

The large, bright full moon will be spectacular when paired with the eclipse. Unfortunately those of us in NE Florida and SE Georgia will only see the initial partial stage and part of totality according to Dr. Mike Reynolds, professor of astronomy at Florida State College at Jacksonville.

The moon sets at 7:16 a.m. Wednesday, before totality is over, and we miss out on the rest of the partial eclipse stages.

The good news: 100% chance of seeing the blue moon. Clear skies are in the works Tuesday night. Plan on a photographic moment as the moon rises above the Atlantic's horizon at 5:17 p.m. just before the sun sets at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Will the moon really look blue? Not at all. The second full moon in a month has come to be called a blue moon because of a calendrical goof that worked its way into the pages of Sky & Telescope back in March 1946, and it spread to the world from there.

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