Heads-Up For Sunday, A Super 'Blood Moon' Is On The Way

Christopher Davidson
January 18, 2019

In addition to the Total Lunar Eclipse, it will also be a Supermoon, when the moon is at its closest spot to Earth in its orbit. As it takes over, the moon will go dark, though the edges will be fuzzy.

Midwesterners and southerners should get a good look at the big, red moon. Sadly most of New Zealand will miss out - with the eclipse being only visible in the top half of the North Island at moon set, Nasa predicts.

As NPR's Rebecca Hersher has reported, the moon will get its shadowy revenge in a few years: "There will be solar eclipses visible from parts of the contiguous US on October 14, 2023, and April 8, 2024". 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).

A TLE occurs when the moon passes into the shadow of the Earth from space and in each case it appears differently depending on the amount of dust and dirt in our atmosphere.

Hoping to watch this weekend's "super blood wolf moon" eclipse from South Florida? Sunday's eclipse will nearly coincide with that perigee, meaning that the moon won't just be redder than usual, it will also look a tiny bit wider.

The super part comes from the moon's position in orbit in relation to the earth.

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As long as the skies cooperate and stay at least partially clear on the night of the 20, expect to first catch sight of the full silvery moon as it rises above the eastern horizon just after sunset.

But because Earth's atmosphere extends about 50 miles up, during a total eclipse, although the Moon is in shadow, there is a ring around our planet through which the Sun's rays still pass.

A "wolf moon" is what Native Americans call the year's first full moon. January's full moon was referred to as the Wolf Moon.

A 2018 super blood moon as seen from Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado.

According to the Irish Astronomical Association, which is based in Northern Ireland, you won't need any special telescope to observe the eclipse, but a pair of binoculars will allow you to view the changing colours as it develops.

The total eclipse will begin in the Central time zone at 10:41 p.m. and reach totality at 11:13 p.m., ending at 11:43 p.m.

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