Image via Jimmy Baikovicius/Forbes
Dust off your telescopes! North and South America will be able to see all of the stages of the Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse on January 20th.
A spectacular sight will be hitting the North and South American skies on the night of January 20thto the first moments of January 21st. In non-scientific terms, we will be experiencing a majorly full moon that will coincide with the sun and earth’s path, causing the night side of Earth to witness a very red and very large moon! A total lunar eclipse that is only visible in America hasn’t happened in 19 years since the year 2000 and won’t happen for another 39 years until 2058!
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Here is how lunar eclipses work (and don’t worry, you don’t need a degree in astronomy to understand): As the Earth orbits around the sun, it leaves behind a long shadow. During an eclipse, the moon will orbit closely to the Earth within its shadow, aligning perfectly behind Earth. Rays of sunlight reflecting off of the Earth’s surface onto the moon causes the red tint. This sort of astronomical symmetry is quite rare, hence the excitement within the astronomy and space enthusiast communities. If you’re wondering why this full moon was given such an ominous “Super Blood Wolf Moon” name, it’s because of the red/blood coloring that all lunar eclipses display, its super moon size, and the January timing is responsible for the wolf title. This incredible moon will reach its red peak at 9:12pm PST or 12:12am EST, and will last for about an hour.
Image via Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images
If the sky is clear enough you can also see other stars and planets shining brighter because of the moon’s temporarily dimmed hue. Tell your friends as well, it is a sight that only comes every few decades, so they won’t want to miss it!