by: Karl Vincent S. Mendez
Attention, Los Baños residents and astronomy enthusiasts!
On January 31, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Astronomical Society will hold a public viewing at the Carabao Park, UPLB Campus to enable Los Baños residents, students, and enthusiasts to watch the first astronomical phenomenon of the year. According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the country will witness on that date three rare moon activities — a supermoon, a blue moon, and an eclipse.
In relation to the viewing, telescopes will be set up as early as 7:30 p.m. These may be used by people who wish to see the moon up close, although the event will still be visible to the naked eye, according to Chris Tuazon, Chief Scholastic Officer of the UPLB Astronomical Society.
Tuazon also shared that the phenomenon will be called “super blood moon” because of
the intersection of the three moon activities. This means that the moon is expected to be bigger and reddish, hence the label “super blood.” He said that the last super blood moon recorded in history happened in 1866.
In emphasizing the importance of the phenomenon, Tuazon said, “The super blood moon’s beauty is something that anyone would not want to miss.”
PAG-ASA estimates the eclipse to start at about 6:49 p.m. At exactly 9:29 p.m. we
will witness the “greatest eclipse” or the point where the earth’s shadows completely blocks the moon.
With the first full moon of the month having happened on January 2, the full moon on January 31 is the second this month, which is seldom and far between, hence the name “blue moon.” The rarity of the phenomenon is the inspiration of the saying, “Once in a blue moon.” According to PAG-ASA, on average, a blue moon happens only every two and a half years.
Furthermore, the moon will be bigger on that evening than usual because it will be
nearer to Earth’s surface. According to data from PAG-ASA, at 5:54 p.m., the moon will be only 358,995 kilometers away from the earth. Because of the short distance, people can see the moon larger than other full moons.
The first full moon this year was also a supermoon.