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Super Blue Blood Moon could bring more coastal flooding in NH

Union Leader Correspondent

January 30. 2018 11:53PM
In the U.S., spectators on the contiguous West Coast and in Alaska and Hawaii will get the best views of the total lunar eclipse early this morning. (NASA image)

HAMPTON — A meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said coastal New Hampshire will feel the effects of the Super Blue Blood Moon even though people living on the East Coast will not be able to view the total lunar eclipse this morning.

During high tide at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, flooding was reported in Hampton.

NWS meteorologist Eric Schwibs said flooding is possible along the coastline until Saturday because of the effects of the supermoon.

“The thing is, you’re going to have high astronomical tides until the 3rd, so you have the potential for flooding issues,” Schwibs said. “You get all the effects without being able to see the eclipse.”

According to NASA, a supermoon appears 14 percent bigger in the sky and 30 percent brighter because it is closer to Earth in its orbit. The proximity of the moon to the planet is what causes the higher-than-average tides.

A blue moon is a second full moon in a calendar month.

During a Facebook live presentation from the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland Tuesday afternoon, NASA Astronomer and Research Scientist Michelle Thaller said the reason the moon will turn red during the total lunar eclipse is that the Earth will be blocking light from the sun.

The trifecta — comprised of the supermoon, blue moon and total lunar eclipse events — has scientists at NASA calling the pre-dawn moon a Super Blue Blood Moon.

Thaller said the best viewing of the total lunar eclipse today will be on the West Coast at 5:29 a.m. PST. By that time, the moon will already have set on the East Coast.

The eclipse begins at 5:51 a.m. EST.

John Gianforte, director of the observatory at the University of New Hampshire, said early risers will be able to see a partially eclipsed moon. Gianforte said enthusiasts in New Hampshire will have to wait until Jan. 21, 2019, to see a total lunar eclipse.

The last blue moon and total lunar eclipse occurred on Dec. 30, 1982. That moon was also close to Earth, but the term “supermoon” was not used back then, Gianforte said.

“That is pretty rare,” Gianforte said. “This is a pretty outstanding event.”

Gianforte is in Atlanta preparing to go live on the Weather Channel’s mobile app from 7:45 to 9 a.m. EST today.

Noah Petro, NASA’s deputy project scientist for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, said that during the eclipse the spacecraft studying the moon will have many of its instruments turned off because it works using solar power. Everything will be rebooted this afternoon.

Petro said NASA will have two team scientists in Hawaii watching the eclipse through telescopes.

NASA will be broadcasting the total lunar eclipse live on NASA TV and, starting at 5:30 a.m. EST.

Environment Weather Durham Hampton

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