Astronomers are broadcasting live video of Wednesday's 'super blue blood moon' online - here's how to watch

lunar eclipse oct. 2014

Russ Opdahl

The phases of a total lunar eclipse.

  • A total lunar eclipse, or blood moon, is happening early in the morning on Wednesday.
  • The eclipse will coincide with a slightly larger full moon (a "supermoon") and the second full moon in a month (a "blue moon").
  • The US East Coast and Europe will have trouble seeing the "super blue blood moon" of 2018, but anyone can watch via a YouTube Live webcast hosted by a company called Slooh.

The world is about to witness a "super blue blood moon" on Wednesday morning, the first since September 2015.

During this astronomical event, the full moon will appear to turn red (a "blood moon") as it travels through the ruddy shadow of Earth. The total lunar eclipse will look slightly larger than normal (a "supermoon"), since the moon is in the part of its orbit that brings it closest to our planet. It also happens to be the second full moon in a month (often called a "blue moon").

But those who live in the eastern US, Europe, and other regions may have trouble seeing the eclipse at its greatest moment, at least in person.

That's because the event begins at around 5:51 a.m. ET with a partial eclipse, which is when the moon starts to pass into Earth's penumbral or outermost shadow. It will slide deeper into Earth's umbral or innermost shadow over the next couple of hours, peaking at its reddest color around 8:31 a.m. ET. The super blue blood moon will wrap up with a second partial eclipse that ends at 11:08 a.m. ET. 

For most of that time on the East Coast, the sun will be in the sky. 



Global map showing areas of the world that will experience (weather permitting) the Jan. 31, 2018 "super blue blood moon."

So if you won't be able to see the moon due to strong daylight, bad weather, or other issues, fret not: You can watch the whole thing online via a special YouTube Live webcast.

Slooh, a company that airs live views of space, will host the broadcast and plans to have telescopes trained on the moon as it's eclipsed by Earth. During their live show, which is packed with astronomy buffs, you'll also learn a great deal about the history and science of lunar eclipses.

"It has been almost seven years since the moon entered Earth's umbral shadow as deeply as this one," Paul Cox, an astronomer at Slooh, said in a press release.

You can tune in starting at 5:45 a.m. ET, with Slooh's panel of experts joining in at 7:00 a.m. ET. The eclipse's reddest phase will begin a little after 7:50 a.m. ET.

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