'Super blood wolf moon' eclipse to darken skies

18 January, 2019, 19:59 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Last year’s “super blue moon” total lunar eclipse.
Marco Ugarte  
AP

The entirety of the total lunar eclipse on Sunday night will be visible from all of North and South America, save for the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.

NASA serves up a year-by-year list of total, partial and penumbral lunar eclipses. The reason there's any color to the eclipse - or to sunsets and sunrises, for that matter - is because red light makes it through our atmosphere better than blue light, and the light cast on the moon during an eclipse is light that's peeking around the edges of the Earth through our atmosphere. That is it. It doesn't have superpowers, just creates a lot of chat and "oooh isn't the moon big/bright" comments if skies are clear. You can look at it with your naked eye. It's when the moon will begin to enter the outer part of the Earth's shadow, called the penumbra.

"This naming of every moon caught on in the last 10 years and it's driving me insane", he said, "but a total lunar eclipse is actually very interesting to see". As the moon passes behind Earth, Earth blocks the sun's light and completely covers the moon in its shadow.

"The super part of it is telling us that the moon is going to be super-sized", he said.

At just before midnight, every child below the age of 99 ... and, yes, there are other "older children" like me ... will be able to watch a total lunar eclipse. You can also plan on around one to five super blood moons each decade, but they only fall in January three times this century (the third and final 21st-century super blood wolf moon barely qualifies, since it falls at the very end of the month on Jan. 31, 2037). But it isn't the so-called "super blood wolf moon", according to one local astronomer.

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This moon will be of the "super" variety because it will be closer to earth, making it appear bigger than usual. Hence, the "Super" portion of the moniker.

The optimal viewing time to see the eclipse is between 4:41am - 5:43am.

Events include a special presentation in the renovated Zeidler Dome about the geometry of the eclipse as well as a peek at the new S.P.A.C.E. Gallery featuring a real piece of the Moon. This accounts for the infrequent occurrences of total lunar eclipses. Rather, it takes on a reddish glow from refracted light as the heavenly bodies move into position - hence the "blood moon" moniker. It could also take on little to no color, he said. A Wolf Moon is the name given to the first full moon in January.

Why the total lunar eclipse is called Blood Moon?

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