A lunar supersighting: A Super Blood Wolf Moon

Super big full moon + total lunar eclipse = WOW

It sounds like the next Marvel/Anime superhero movie: Super Blood Wolf Moon. But it’s happening on January 20-21 and many in the USA will get to see this rare occurrence. Let’s break it down.

Super Moon – The moon will be at its closest point to Earth in its orbit. (Technically called perigee). The brightness of the moon increases almost 30% and appears 14% larger than at apogee (where the moon is at its farthest point from Earth).

Blood Moon – This happens during a total lunar eclipse. The sun, Earth and moon will align perfectly. The moon passes through the shadow (umbra) of the earth. Wayward beams of sunlight filter through our atmosphere. The filter allows the red light to reach the surface of the moon. If there is a lot of dust in the air, then the light is a darker red.

Lunar Eclipse
Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Wolf Moon – This is the name given to the full moon in January. It comes from Native American and medieval Europe as hungry wolves howl into the night lamenting the lack of food.

Starting about 9:30pm (Central Time) on Sunday, January 20, the moon will start to move into the Earth’s shadow. You will see the moon ‘disappear’ as it continues to move into the shade. Then, at 10:40pm, the total eclipse begins and the moon will appear red. You will have about an hour to witness the Super Blood Wolf Moon. Around midnight, the moon will pass out of the shadow with the partial eclipse ending at 12:51am on Monday, January 21. Find out more on NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory website.

The great thing is you will not need any special equipment. Just go outside and look up. Binoculars and a telescope would be handy if you want to see the lunar details. The next total lunar will be on May 26, 2021. Let’s the hope the weather is good with clear skies.

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