'Super Blood Wolf Moon' to get star billing in weekend lunar eclipse

Rosemary Collier
January 19, 2019

It is an astronomical trifecta - the sun, moon and Earth will align on Sunday for the year's first - and only - total lunar eclipse, also being referred to as the "super wolf blood moon". Pacific Standard Time, Earth's shadow will start passing in front of the moon from the lower left, and about an hour later, the full lunar eclipse appears.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth is positioned between the sun and the moon, casting the moon completely in the Earth's shadow and giving it an orangish, "bloody" look.

Experts say there will be four more eclipses this year.

Godfrey and Slooh astronomer Paul Cox, plus Slooh storyteller Helen Avery, will discuss the science and cultural impact of lunar eclipses during the webcast. For the next hour, the moon will dim slightly.

Lunar eclipses take place cyclically, on nights when the moon passes through the shadow of our planet backlit by the sun.

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In the United Kingdom, the Moon will be above the horizon throughout the eclipse, although from southeast the sun will have risen as it comes to an end.

Depending on where you are in the country, the moon might "turn a copper-orange-reddish color", according to a January 7 article Forbes magazine.

The eclipse is also being called as a "Super Blood Wolf Moon", and will start at 7.34 pm Pacific Standard Time on January 20, which converts to 9:00 am IST (January 21).

Previous year saw a "super blue moon" total lunar eclipse, but a mostly cloudy day made for a spotty view at best.

He added that "at exactly 5.41 a.m., a maximum eclipse of the moon which may be visible to human sight will be witnessed, while the moon eclipse is expected to end at 6.43 a.m".

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Over time, monthly full moons have acquired different names.

So far, it looks like the weather New England will be experiencing will impact visibility of the eclipse in the region. This super blood moon is going to be fun because we will be able to see the moon and the stars in the same sky - usually the moon is too bright to see the stars at the same time, according to the Cherokee of the early 1800s. So it will be a super wolf blood moon.

A "super" moon occurs when the moon is especially close to earth, while a "wolf moon" is the traditional name for the full moon of January, when the howling of wolves was a sound that helped define winter, according to The Farmers Almanac.

That's a particularly important caveat in Western Washington - where the weather outlook calls for cloudy skies and evening showers on Sunday, with a chance of some clearing overnight. The Earth thus cuts off the moon's light supply.

On Feb. 19 our satellite will be 221,681 miles (356,761km) from Earth - the closest it gets - to create the biggest supermoon of the year. Because an eclipsed moon is always full, the moon sets (or rises) at nearly the same time as the sun rises (or sets) on the opposite horizon. That light turns the moon a delicate orange, copper and/or pink color.

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