Calling all of my fellow moon lovers out there. Something very exciting is on the horizon. You may have already heard that a Super Blue Blood Moon will give us quite a show on Wednesday, Jan. 31, but do you know what that actually means? The moon takes on many identities with its different names, and the upcoming Super Blue Blood Moon comes with a lunar eclipse. That's right, I said lunar eclipse — so start putting "Total Eclipse of the Heart" from your solar eclipse Spotify playlist from last year back into rotation. But, you might be wondering, can you look at the lunar eclipse directly?
The simple truth is yes, you can! Well, that was easy. You don't need to be searching Amazon for a pair of lunar eclipse glasses, because those don't exist. You can look directly at a lunar eclipse without rocking any protective eyewear, and not fear for one second that you are hurting your eyes. We can all sigh in relief. The struggles of finding specialty glasses and the fear of damaging your eyes aren't problems like they were with the solar eclipse we experienced in 2017. The big difference is you're staring at the moon during a lunar eclipse. The moon is safe territory for sky gazing, versus staring at the sun (which we all know is never OK to do). So, your moon viewing party plans shall continue in full force.
What's Going On During A Lunar Eclipse?
An eclipse occurs when the sun, moon, and Earth all line up together. A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth is directly in between the sun and the moon. When we saw the solar eclipse, it was the moon that situated itself in between the sun and the Earth. That's why we were able to see the moon's shadow taking over the sun with our solar eclipse glasses — and we needed those glasses to safely view the sun.
The really cool thing we get to experience with a total lunar eclipse is the moon changing colors. The sun will be located behind the Earth, which means we'll see beautiful hues of the sunset cast over the moon. We're seeing the effects of the sunlight, but it's behind us and we're not staring directly at it. That means it's totally safe to stare for as long as you'd like. Don't forget to snap some pictures while you're at it.
Do You Need Anything Special To See A Lunar Eclipse?
Now we know a lunar eclipse is totally safe to look at without any eyewear, and you'll be able to see it just fine with good weather conditions essentially anywhere in the night sky. You may want to grab a telescope or some binoculars if you want a close up view. However, the moon will be full, so it'll be easy for you to spot without the magnified assistance. The Super Blue Blood Moon happening will also be a supermoon, which means the moon is very close to the Earth. Therefore, it will look bigger than your average full moon.
If you are planning a moon watching party with your girls, you should consider finding the perfect location. If you have great views of the sky in your backyard without any bright lights surrounding you, you don't have to go very far. If you do have anything blocking your view, you should consider going to someplace like a rooftop or a field.
The right location will really make your party go from just an eclipse to a total lunar eclipse. Either way, you now have full assurance that your eyes are totally safe from damage if your plans are just to pull out a warm blanket and stare up into the night sky. That's exactly what I plan on doing, so happy moon watching to you all!