If you're scratching your head over the term "super blue blood moon," you're not alone. It's a pretty rare occurrence, as in once in a blue moon (get it?), so not too many of us are all that familiar. Let's start with the need-to-knows: It's happening on Jan. 31, 2018, it's gonna be spectacular, and you might feel it before you even see it. (I'll explain further down.) But most importantly, it's the perfect reason to take your SO on one of these super blue blood moon dates.
But before we get into those ideas, let's dissect this moon happening even further. There's a lot of science involved when explaining the Super Blue Blood Moon (SBBM). In moon talk, a "supermoon" is when the moon looks super bright and super-sized because it is much closer to Earth in its orbit. A Blood Moon occurs when the moon has a reddish color due to a total lunar eclipse. And finally, a Blue Moon just refers to having two full moons in the same calendar month. (Our first this month was Jan. 1.) The last time all three of these happened at the same time was in 1866, meaning Jan. 31 will be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. (See? Romantic.) It might also leave you feeling a little off. Leading up to the SBBM, you could find yourself experiencing fluctuating hormones, a lack of sleep, a ton of emotions, and a ramped up sex drive. Sounds like date night to me...
The United States is going to have some primetime viewings of this incredible sight, which vary in time as you travel from East Coast to West Coast. Here are some date ideas for the perfect view, no matter where in the States you are.
New York City, New York
New York City, that whole "never sleeping" thing is finally about to pay off. At 5:51 a.m. on Jan. 31, you might notice the moon starting to darken just a little. This signals the moon entering Earth's "penumbra," or the lighter portion of the shadow cast by the Earth, though it might be difficult to notice. The full effect should take place at about 6:48 a.m. local time, when the moon enters Earth's "umbra," the darkest part of Earth's shadow.
It's going to be a late night, but that's part of the fun. Head out for a night of drinking and dancing (or theater, comedy, bowling... NYC has no shortage of options), just be sure to stay out until the 4 a.m. last call. If you head home early, you risk losing steam, and you'll want to keep the momentum going for this all-nighter. Grab a bottle of bubbles and some warm blankets (it's cold AF) and head to a rooftop or the West Side Highway. You'll only get about 16 minutes of prime viewing before the moon sets.
For Chicagoans, the night won't be as late, but you'll still be yawning through work the next day. The penumbra touches the moon at 4:51 a.m. local time, and the umbral eclipse starts at 5:48 a.m. local time. The blood-red color will start to be visible at 6:16 a.m., and the moon will set at 7:03 a.m., as the sun rises.
You could replicate the NYC late-night bar-hopping date, but according to Chicago Magazine, "Chicago is famously a city of neighborhoods, each with its own charms and challenges." That translates to way more outdoor space, and while it's freezing in the windy city, bundling up and setting up an outdoor movie night (or indoor, if you'd prefer the warmth) is the perfect date. Bonus: Watch one of these space movies on Netflix to set the mood.
Starting in Denver and then continuing westward, the eclipse begins at 3:51 a.m. local time and reaches maximum eclipse at 6:29 a.m. local time.
Take advantage of all of the surrounding mountains and ski resorts, and head out on a winter activity date — the Olympics are upon us, after all. Whether you're snowshoeing, sledding, or snowboarding, you'll work up a sweat. Have some time to cozy up by the fire place with a (spiked) hot cocoa, and head out in time to catch the beautiful sky show.
Californians will get a better view of the end of totality, which happens at 6:07 a.m. (The penumbral eclipse starts at 2:51 a.m. local time, and the partial eclipse will begin at 3:48 a.m.)
The Western state has beaches and way warmer weather, making camping out on the beach a feasible and totally amazing option. Grab some surf boards and wet suits — the water is chilly — set a bonfire, sleep under the stars, and wake up in time to catch totality's start at 5:29 a.m. local time.
The timing will be the same in California as you move South, but the weather will be even warmer. All hail California, for real.
If you don't have a boat, I vote you book one for an amazing sail through the Pacific. The coastline is peppered with gorgeous harbors, so there will be plenty of options for docking your boat and letting the waves rock you and your date to sleep before you wake up to see the SBBM.
Across the Pacific, the lunar eclipse begins earlier in the night — lucky folks. In Hawaii, you'll be able to see the entire thing from beginning to end; max eclipse will occur at 10:29 p.m.
Hawaii is just romantic, period, with so much lush, open space, so any date will be perfect. But my vote goes to a night swim. Underwater kisses and a big, sexy, libido-amping moon? I might start looking into flights...
The timing is the same in Alaska as it is in Hawaii, but the temperature is just a touch colder (OK, way colder). Bundle up and head outdoors with some s'more-making supplies and get cozy by the fire. These SBBM-inspired cocktails and galaxy cakes should help keep you and your partner warm.
No matter where you find yourself on Jan. 31, the super blue blood moon is primed to be an epic backdrop for a date you'll never forget. And if you're single, you've got just about two weeks to figure out who you're bringing along.
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