Besides being some kind of strange omen for the end times, Wednesday’s Super Moon/Blue Moon/Blood Moon will be very pretty. For folks on the West Coast — or near it — the celestial phenomenon will appear just before dawn. It’s worth getting up — and even interrupting sleep training — to go take a look. Why? This is a genuinely rare phenomenon. For the moon to be super and blue and bloody, four different things need to be happening. There has to be a full moon, a total lunar eclipse, a blue moon, and a blood moon. Needless to say, that is not a common occurrence.
At any given point in time about half the earth can see the side of the moon that’s illuminated by the sun. During a total lunar eclipse, Earth comes directly between the sun and the moon. This results in the reddish color the moon turns during a total lunar eclipse — we call this a Blood Moon. A Blue Moon in this instance means that the full moon is occurring twice in the same month. Finally, a Super Moon happens when the moon isn’t just full, but when it’s full and closest to the earth.
Full moons happen every month, lunar eclipses and Blood Moons happen every year. Super Moons, while not as common, are something most people have seen at least once. The last Super Blue Blood Moon occurred in 1866, which is a nice way of saying that neither you nor your kid is likely to ever see one again.