Thursday, 24 January, 2019

What is a Super Blood Moon?

How to Watch January's 'Super Blood Wolf Moon' Eclipse A 'super blood wolf moon' in January will be the last total lunar eclipse until 2021 — here's how to catch it
Cary Marshall | 30 December, 2018, 08:35

In January 2019, stargazers in the US and elsewhere will be treated to a lunar eclipse that some are calling the "super blood wolf moon". This means the moon will appear slightly brighter and bigger than usual, known as a supermoon.

January 20 will mark the final time a lunar eclipse and a supermoon occur at the same time until May 2021. It will be visible from North and South America, as well as portions of western Europe and Africa.

Here's what to know about the upcoming super blood wolf moon eclipse.

While technically just a lunar eclipse, each part of the event's jam-packed nickname has a meaning behind it. Total lunar eclipses make the moon look orange-red because of the effect that Earth's atmosphere has on the sunlight that passes through it, which is why they are often called blood moons. Our planet casts its shadow on the Moon, blocking out the Sun's light. The result, NASA scientist Noah Petro tells Space.com's Doris Elin Salazar, is the color of all of Earth's sunrises and sunsets simultaneously reaching the moon.

The term "super moon", meanwhile, has to do with the apparent size of the moon. The moon itself won't actually get any larger, it will just appear larger than normal - and only just a bit.

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During a lunar eclipse, the moon first touches Earth's outer shadow, called a penumbra, then moves into the full shadow, called the umbra. On Jan. 20, the moon will be about 222,274 miles from Earth as a full moon.

Petros Giannakouris/ASSOCIATED PRESS On Jan. 31, 2018, a super blue blood moon rose behind the 2,500-year-old Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens. It was visible only over parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Lunar eclipses take the form of total, partial or penumbral events.

When can people see the super blood wolf moon? NASA calculates there will be 85 total lunar eclipses this century.

Americans all over the country will have front row seats in January to a striking sight on the celestial stage: a "super blood wolf moon". In a penumbral lunar eclipse, not much happens-at least from the point of view of someone watching from Earth. Totality, or the moment the moon is completely eclipsed, is set to take place around 12:12 a.m. EST, but plan on beginning your stargazing adventure an hour or so if you're hoping to witness a partial eclipse, too.

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