January 2018 will be a great month to keep your eyes peeled on the night sky as three important celestial events occur. Therefore, you will want to be in a dark location allowing you to see the sky clearly.
January 1 Supermoon
On the first night of 2018 observers can see a supermoon. These full moons appear extremely large because they are nearest the earth’s surface. Therefore, they appear 14 percent bigger and up to 30 percent brighter than the average full moon. In some cultures, this moon will also be called the wolf moon paying tribute to the fact that wolves howl at the moon because it will obviously be the first full moon of the year.
January 11 Predawn Planetary Summit
Grab your binoculars and get ready for the predawn planetary summit on January 11 when Mars passes just 0.7 degrees north of the doublestar Zubenelgenubi and just 0.2 degrees from Jupiter making them all viewable in one binocular view. This will be the closest Mars and Jupiter will be to each other until March 20, 2020 as both will move away from Zubenelgenubi and toward Antares. Mars, however, will move much faster than Jupiter.
January 31 Total Moon Eclipse
NASA has dubbed the lunar eclipse occuring on January 31, 2018, as a Super Blue Moon Eclipse as it will occur just one day after a supermoon. This eclipse will last about 76 minutes. If you want to see the total eclipse, then you need to be in Northern Canada, Alaska or Hawaii. Assuming that the skies are clear, this eclipse should be spectacular as the moon in those locations as the moon will appear blood red right before it enters the eclipse. This is because the earth’s light which has a red spectrum will be reflecting off of it.