Grand Vue Park in Moundsville to Host ‘Once in a Blue Moon’ Event

Photo by Scott McCloskey SMART Centre Market owners Robert and Libby Strong prepare to host a “Super Blue Moon Star Watch” tonight at Grand Vue Park’s Aerial Zip Line Adventure Area.

The owners of SMART Centre Market will provide the public an opportunity to view two of the three components of a rare astronomical event that hasn’t occurred in the Western Hemisphere in over 150 years called a “super blue blood moon,” during a free viewing event this evening at Grand Vue Park in Moundsville.

SMART Centre Market Owners Robert and Libby Strong will be hosting a “Super Blue Moon Star Watch” from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight at Grand Vue Park’s Aerial Zip Line Adventure Area, where the public will have the opportunity to view the moon, winter stars and other deep sky objects, weather permitting.

According to Robert Strong, only two of the three different components of the extremely rare event will be able to be viewed from this part of the country. He said the “blood moon” spectacle will only be possible to view in the most western portions of the U.S. because it won’t occur until the moon goes down over the horizon in the eastern part of the country. The “blood moon” event gets its name from the reddish glow of the moon which is caused when the moon passes through Earth’s shadow.

Strong said those in this region will only be able to view the super and blue components of the event. He said the super moon component is when the moon is full and at its closest point in its orbit to the earth, which only occurs a couple times a year, while the blue moon component is the second full moon of the month, which only happens once every couple of years. While only two of the components will be able to be viewed in this region of the country, Strong said having all three of these events combined creates for a very rare celestial event. The last time all three spectacles occurred simultaneously in the Western Hemisphere was in 1866.

Strong said there is an optical illusion called the moon illusion, during which the moon looks larger than normal when the moon is rising and setting. He said a “super full moon” is only slightly larger than a normal full moon.

“Unless you’ve got some way to measure it, you’re not really going to be able to tell (the difference),” Strong said.

“Everyone is going to be able to see the super moon … and everyone is going to see the blue moon, but really only the West Coast and west of that will see the blood moon,” Strong said. “It will be a bloodless super blue moon (locally).”

He said that any full moon that rises is an “awesome thing” and this will be a perfect opportunity for the public to get outside and view it.