A trio of lunar phenomena will converge this weekend to create what has been dubbed a Super Blood Wolf Moon. This spectacular celestial show will light-up skylines in many countries around the world. And the event will be all the more amazing, as the Super Blood Wolf Moon seemingly be shaded an evil blood red colour.
North and South America will have the best seats to watch the cosmic event.
This year’s total eclipse will be all the more rare as it is the first to be seen in its entirety in North America in three and half years.
And it is highly recommended to catch the Super Blood Wolf Moon as the next one arrives in May 26, 2021.
The entire eclipse will last nearly 3.5 hours, starting with the partial eclipse phase, when Earth’s shadow takes its first bite out of the moon, at 10.34pm (ET) / 3.34am (UT).
And the shadow will vanish from the celestial satellite at 1.51am (ET) / 6.51am (UT).
Totality will last 63 minutes, with the maximum eclipse – when the moon is at its most dramatic red – occurring at 12.12pm (ET) / 5.12am (UT).
North America is in the best position to watch a total lunar eclipse for years according to Joe Rao, an on-camera meteorologist.
“It is exceptionally well placed for those in North America,” he said.
“A total lunar eclipse visible in its entirety from coast-to-coast across 48 United States, with totality commencing everywhere before the stroke of midnight.”
Only two other lunar eclipses have done that, in 1968 and 2000.
What is a Super Blood Wolf Moon?
Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipses are extremely rare astronomical events.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes perfectly between the Moon and the Sun, blocking most of the light from the Sun in the process.
Our celestial satellite is then plunged into Earth’s shadow, known as the umbra.
But the Moon does not go pitch black like the Sun does during a solar eclipse.
This is because some sunlight still creeps past the outer edges of the Earth and hits the Moon.
This light is a creepy crimson-copper colour because the sunlight has been scattered after passing through a lot of atmosphere, colliding with tiny particles of nitrogen and oxygen.
This scattering effect explains why our sky is blue during the day, and reddish-orange in the evenings.
When the Sun is high in the sky, blue light gets scattered the most in all directions.
And when the Sun sets at a low angle, its light is passing through more atmosphere, filtering out the blue light and allowing reds and yellows to pass through.
Why is it called a Super Blood Wolf Moon?
Native Americans and colonial Europeans reportedly name the January full Moon the Wolf Moon, because wolves would purportedly start howling in hunger in the month, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
This month’s Wolf Moon eclipse is even more special because the lunar disk will appear to be slightly larger than usual.
The Moon will be at perigee – its closest point to Earth – only 59 minutes before the eclipse’s height.
The lunar disk appears 16 percent brighter and 13 percent larger than a regular Full Moon.