A moon hovers next to a University of Arizona banner, during a full lunar eclipse in 2008. On Jan 31, there will be a total eclipse of the moon and a “blue moon.”

James S. Wood/ Arizona Daily Star 2008

This is a special month for the Moon. On New Year’s Day there was a “supermoon”, a full moon when it is at its closest approach to the Earth.

On Wednesday, Jan. 31, there will be another full moon, a “blue moon.” One of the several definitions for a blue moon is a second full moon in a calendar month. But as they say on infomercials, there is even more. On Jan. 31, there will also be a total eclipse of the moon.

At 3:52 a.m., the moon enters the penumbra of the Earth’s shadow where the Earth only partially blocks the sun’s light from directly striking the moon. At 4:49 a.m., the moon enters the umbra of the Earth’s shadow, that part of the shadow where the sun’s light is fully blocked by the Earth.

Totality starts at 5:52 a.m. when the moon is completely in the umbral shadow. Eclipse maximum occurs at 6:29 a.m. as the moon is low in the west, and the sky is brightening in the morning twilight. Totality ends at 7:07 a.m. By that time, the moon is nearly set, and the morning twilight is quite bright. Sunrise takes place at 7:18 a.m. just prior to the moon setting at 7:22 a.m. The finishing parts of the eclipse take place after the moon sets. Totality should be good. Give it a try.

Contact Tim Hunter at Skyspy.com.