During the afternoon hours of Saturday, January 21, (right around 3:53p.m. EST) the moon will pass between the Earth and the Sun, blocking the moon from view in what’s known as a New Moon.
Since this event will occur only 5 minutes before the Moon reaches its closest point to Earth for this orbit (called perigee), the first supermoon of the year will occur.
A supermoon is a celestial event that describes the moon at its closest proximity to the Earth on its orbit (or reaches “perigee”). This occurrence is more popular during full moons, as these are the ones we can see and cause the moon to appear bigger and brighter than usual. However, when a supermoon occurs during a new moon they’re not visible to the eye unless they’re causing an eclipse.
Thus, since the year’s first supermoon will occur during a New Moon, it unfortunately won’t be visible.
On the other hand, the day of or day after the New Moon marks the start of a new month for many lunisolar calendars–and in this case the first month of the Chinese calendar begins on Sunday, January 22, making this Chinese New Year, the start of the Year of the Rabbit!
So though you won’t need to carve out any time in your calendar to check out this weekend’s supermoon, you can still pack your weekend with tons of exciting Lunar New Year events happening around NYC!