Jan. 20-21 —The first full moon of 2019 is a dandy: It’s not only a supermoon, it occurs during a total lunar eclipse, creating what’s known as a blood moon. That’s because the moon takes on a rusty or blood-red color during an eclipse. full moon, supermoon and total lunar eclipse: The total lunar eclipse begins on Sunday, Jan. 20, at 11:41 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, with totality continuing for more than hour until 12:43 a.m. on the 21st. During that time, the moon appears red, which accounts for the term “blood moon” assigned to this event. It also is known as the Wolf Moon, a name given to the January full moon because hungry wolves howled near the camps of early Native American tribes. It’s also sometimes called the Old Moon and the Moon After Yule. Most of North America, South America, the eastern Pacific Ocean, western Atlantic Ocean, and extreme western Europe and western Africa should be able to see it.
What is a “blood moon”?
We’re in for a treat: In addition to being a “supermoon”, this month’s full moon will also experience a lunar eclipse, taking on a reddish/orangish tint during transit.
Did you know that “moonlight” does not originally come from the moon? Instead, sunlight that reflects off the moon’s surface and travels to Earth.
During a lunar eclipse, the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow (known as the “umbra”); the shadow then blocks the Sun’s light from illuminating the moon as it normally does. Enough sunlight is able to reach the moon to keep it visible, but that light undergoes Rayleigh scattering as it passes through Earth’s atmosphere, turning to a reddish hue (similar to the process that causes reddish skies at sunrise and sunset).
Depending on the amount of water vapor, clouds, water droplets, dirt, dust and ash in the atmosphere at the time of the eclipse, the moon will appear in various shades of red compared to previous lunar eclipse events.
When is the best time to see the Super Wolf Blood Moon lunar eclipse?
The best time to view this Super Wolf Blood Moon undergo the eclipse will be after 9:30 p.m. Sunday, January 20th; it is at this time that the moon begins to pass into Earth’s shadow.
According to Space.com, the total eclipse will begin at 11:41 p.m. EST and peak at 12:13 a.m.; the total eclipse will end at 12:43 a.m.
While the eclipse will already be happening by the time the moon rises for some residents of Alaska and Hawaii, people in the rest of the country will have a chance to see every stage of the event, depending on local weather conditions.