Get outside this weekend and catch a glimpse of the full moon, it will be the last total lunar eclipse until 2021.
This weekend, sky-gazers will have the opportunity to witness a rare cosmic event- a super blood wolf moon. If you are a lunar enthusiast you will not want to miss this rare three lunar phenomena. On January 20th, 2019 there will be a supermoon as the moon will be atypically close to the earth. January’s full moon is traditionally known as the wolf moon. In this case, during totality the full moon does not disappear completely, instead it turns a blood red color.
In a lunar eclipse, the Earth casts a shadow on the moon. This is rare as typically when the moon makes its monthly round about, its orbit is tilted, so it usually glides above or below Earth’s shadow.
Total lunar eclipses occur only during a full moon, and only when the sun, Earth, and moon are precisely aligned so that the darkest part of our planet’s shadow completely blankets the lunar disk.
What Makes the Blood Red Moon- Red?
During the total eclipse, sunlight shining through Earth’s dusty atmosphere is refracted toward the red segment of the light-spectrum before it’s cast onto the surface of the moon. This refracted light causes the lunar disk to go from a gray color during the partial phase of the eclipse to a red-orange color during totality.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, Native Americans and colonial Europeans named the January full moon the wolf moon, because wolves in the region would purportedly start howling in hunger due to the midwinter food paucity.
This month’s wolf moon eclipse will be even more spectacular because the moon will appear to be slightly larger than usual. The moon will be at perigee about an hour just before the height of the eclipse. This will make the lunar disk appear 13 percent larger and about 16 percent brighter than the average full moon- which is why it is a super moon.
When Was the Last Total Eclipse?
According to National Geographic, the last total eclipse of the moon occurred on July 27, 2018, and was visible across Africa and parts of Asia. This year’s total eclipse will be the first to be seen in its entirety in North America in nearly three and half years. If you happen to miss this one, you will have to wait until May 26, 2021 to get your next chance to see a blood moon.
How Do We See This Lunar Phenomenon?
Most people who live in the Western Hemisphere will be able to see all or part of the eclipse. North America, Central America, and South America should be able to view all the phases of the eclipse.
Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to watch with your naked eye. Views will vary and if the sky happens to be too cloudy you may not have a view at all.
Do not worry, if the weather does not cooperate or you live in the wrong time zone, you can still watch this amazing phenomena online here.
When is it and What Time?
The eclipse is this Sunday, January 20th. For those of us who live in Patchogue the eclipse will begin about 10:33 EST., starting with the partial eclipse phase, when Earth’s shadow begins to cover the moon. The entire event will last about three and a half hours ending about 1:50 am on January 21st. Totality will last 63 minutes and the moon is expected to be at its most vivid color at approximately 12:12 p.m. EST.