Nighttime sky gazers are in for a beautiful treat this weekend as the Moon prepares to put on a spectacular show. Beginning Sunday, January 20th at approximately 10:34 P.M. Eastern time, viewers will get a chance to observe what’s being called a ‘super blood wolf moon eclipse.’ The event will last a few hours, extending into the early morn of Monday, January 21st.
Image Credit: ShantiUniverse/YouTube
As you can probably gather from the name, this weekend’s super blood wolf moon eclipse will comprise of a total lunar eclipse along with some additional perks that don’t typically happen at the same time. Curious about what those other perks might be? If so, then you’ve come to the right place; we’ll outline everything you need to know below:
It’s a Super Moon.
The word ‘super’ in the name ‘super blood wolf moon eclipse’ stands for Supermoon; this is a term used to describe a full or new Moon when it’s closest to the Earth during its elliptical orbit. Consequently, it appears slightly larger than usual in the night sky, but it would take a trained eye to spot the size difference.
It’s also a Blood Moon.
The word ‘blood’ in the name mentioned earlier stands for Blood Moon. This term describes the Moon’s appearance during a total lunar eclipse. As the Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun, it casts a shadow on the lunar surface. Small amounts of sunlight pass through Earth’s atmosphere on all sides and become skewed enough to reach the lunar surface, causing a redshift effect.
It’s a Wolf Moon too.
And lastly, the word ‘wolf’ in the name ‘super blood wolf moon eclipse’ stands for Wolf Moon; this is a term given to a Full Moon that presents itself in the month of January. This tradition allegedly began hundreds of years ago because of the howling sounds that wolves would make in its presence, but this theory leaves wiggle room for interpretation given just how often it’s debated.
Related: So just how old is the Moon, anyway?
The infographic below, courtesy of skyandtelescope.com, depicts what will happen and when:
Total lunar eclipses generally transpire a few times each year, but that won’t be the case this time around. Instead, astronomers say that this will be the last total lunar eclipse until at least May 2020. While there’s nothing that special about a Supermoon or a Wolf Moon, having all these factors take place at precisely the same time is what makes this so spectacular.
Will you be watching this year’s super blood wolf moon eclipse? Let us know in the comments.