by Karl Vincent S. Mendez
The UPLB Astronomical Society held a public viewing event to watch the first astronomical phenomenon of the year at the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) last night, January 31.
Moon-watchers were able to witness three rare moon activities all in one night– a supermoon, a blue moon, and an eclipse. To celebrate the event the UPLB Astronomical Society set up two telescopes at the Carabao Park. The telescopes were made available to anyone who wishes to see the moon up close.
Because of the clear skies, the moon was visible all throughout the event. According to Chris Tuazon, Chief Scholastic Officer of UPLB Astronomical Society, “makikita naman siya [the moon] with the naked eye pero mas makikita mo ung features ng moon with the telescope.”
He also explained that unlike the solar eclipse, it is safe to look directly at the moon during the eclipse since it is not harmful to the eyes.
One of the kids that participated with the public viewing was Hannah, a 4 year old girl. According to her mother, the event was just a recent topic at their play school. She said that it was timely and a perfect way to teach Hannah about the rare phenomenon.
After using the telescope Hannah had big smile on her face. “It was fun!” Hannah said with a smile.
Super Blue Blood Moon
Tuazon explained that the phenomenon was called “super blue blood moon” because of the intersection of the 3 moon activities. Because of these, the moon was bigger and with a reddish color, hence the name “super-blood”.
“This is once in a lifetime experience,” Tuazon said.
3-in-1 it is indeed because in one night, moon watchers were able to gaze upon three moon events, – a supermoon, a blue moon and an eclipse.
The eclipse started at about 7:40 p.m. Around 8:29 p.m. the “greatest eclipse” occured or the point where the earth’s shadows completely blocks the moon.
The first full moon of the month happened on January 2 and the second was last night (January 31). If you have heard the saying “once in a blue moon”, this rare event is its origin. According to PAGASA, on average, a blue moon happens every two and a half years.
Furthermore, the moon was bigger than usual because the moon will be nearer to the earth’s surface. PAGASA reported that at 5:54 p.m., the moon appeared 358,995 kilometers away from the earth or less than 25,404 km than it’s normal distance. And because of the relatively shorter distance, people can see the moon larger than other full moons.
This was also the second supermoon of 2018. The first one appeared last January 2.