It's been 150 years since this rare lunar event has been viewable from the Americas. And on Wednesday, it's not looking any better for most people in the region — except maybe for a few.
While folks in much of the rest of the U.S. can look forward to seeing a rare, triple-lunar treat early Wednesday, we in the Puget Sound will most likely be looking at … clouds.
That’s right, my fellow denizens of the Pacific Northwest, we will most likely miss the show as the three events come together in a manner not seen in the Americas for more than 150 years.
First, the moon is near its perigee, or the closest point in its orbit to the Earth, according to EarthSky.org. Because of that, it looks bigger than usual in our sky and is dubbed a Super Moon
Second, on Wednesday, the moon will be full for the second time this month, which is sometimes referred to as a Blue Moon.
Finally, in the early morning, the moon will pass completely through the Earth’s shadow, giving us a total lunar eclipse and a Blood Moon, named after the resulting reddish hue projected onto the celestial body’s surface.
The eclipse will begin at 4:51 a.m. and end at 6:08 a.m. local time, peaking about 5:30 a.m.
And while each separate lunar event is not that rare on its own, it is highly unusual for them to all occur on the same day.
However, according to Andy Haner, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Seattle, our chances of seeing the extravaganza are slim to … well, let’s not say none. There’s a slight chance the forecast could be off. But it’s not looking good.
“I’m pessimistic,” said Haner about our chances. “It’s not looking good here, especially not in the Seattle metro area or the I-5 corridor.”
The chance of rain at that time is 60 percent, so rain is likely and even if it’s not raining, Haner said, “it looks like there will be low clouds.”
People living in the rain shadow created by the Olympic Mountains, areas such as Sequim, Port Townsend, Port Angeles and even the northern part of the Kitsap Peninsula have a greater chance of clear skies, he said.
Still, you die-hard fans of the celestial dome may want to go ahead and set your alarm clocks.
Haner’s colleague, meteorologist Doug McDonnal, said Tuesday morning we could get lucky.
“There is going to be cloud cover over most of Western Washington, but there could also be some spots of clearing and some people might be able to get glimpses of the moon,” he said. “It’ll be hit or miss.”
To everyone else, sorry, said Haner. “It’s just one of those Januaries.”