A month of moon shows, beginning with New Year's supermoon

  • A supermoon rises in Madrid on Aug. 10, 2014. January has two supermoons, with the first visible tonight.

    A supermoon rises in Madrid on Aug. 10, 2014. January has two supermoons, with the first visible tonight. Associated Press

  • Traffic streaks by the supermoon as it rises behind the Memorial Bridge in Washington D.C. on July 12, 2014. January has two supermoons, with the first visible tonight.

    Traffic streaks by the supermoon as it rises behind the Memorial Bridge in Washington D.C. on July 12, 2014. January has two supermoons, with the first visible tonight. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 1/2/2018 9:41 AM

Less than a day after fireworks lighted up the skies to usher in 2018, the moon will put on its own show with a New Year's Day supermoon.

January actually is a lunar trifecta, with a supersized "wolf moon" this evening, a "blue moon" on Jan. 31 and a partial lunar eclipse the same day.

 

You can see tonight's supermoon, which occurs when the full moon is closest to the earth, beginning when the moon rises shortly after sunset.

A supermoon appears about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than a full moon that occurs at its furthest point from earth, says NASA.

"Any time you catch a full Moon as it rises or sets, while it's suspended low on the horizon beaming through the silhouettes of trees or buildings, its apparent size might make you do a double-take. You almost feel as though you could reach out, grab the glowing orb, and drop it into your coffee cup. Even more so if it's a supermoon," the space agency says.

The January full moon was called the wolf moon by American Indian tribes because it "appeared when wolves howled in hunger outside the villages," says the Old Farmer's Almanac.

But January gets another full moon on the last day of the month. When that happens, the second full moon is called a "blue moon."

Also a supermoon, it comes with the added drama of a luner eclipse. Viewers in Alaska, Hawaii, the western U.S. and Canada and the Pacific rim will see a full eclipse. In the Chicago area, the partial eclipse will begin at 5:48 a.m. Jan. 31, while the moon is low on the northwest horizon. The maximum eclipse is at 6:56 a.m. very low on the horizon, just before the sun rises and the moon sets.

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