On the evening of January 20th, things are going to get a little bit scary on the sky. Well, it’s not something risky or out of this world though. It’s simply a rare cosmic event that will turn a big full moon into a spooky shade of crimson. A lot of people call it the “super blood wolf moon” and it’s definitely a site to savor.
There are three elements that make up a “super blood wolf moon” which don’t come together all that often. In fact, it’s so rare for this to happen that we have only witnessed this kind of moon three times over the last 100 years. A “wolf moon” is simply the folk name that’s often given to a moon that happens during the month of January. The super blood wolf moon, on the other hand, is a result of a total lunar eclipse.
The total lunar eclipse happens when the sun, the Earth, and the moon all line up for just a brief moment. When this happens, the Earth projects a reddish shadow on the moon. In addition to this, during the month of January, the moon is traditionally a little bit closer to Earth in its orbit. This means that it looks at least 15% bigger than normal.
Supermoons are not that common. We get between two to five supermoons a year. Blood moons, on the other hand, are a little bit rarer. On average, we get maybe one to five blood moons between six months and five years. But on Sunday night you will get the chance to view this phenomenon. It’s a total lunar eclipse and it will be visible from all parts of North and South America. People in West Africa and the western part of Europe will also be able to get a clear view of the eclipse.
The show will begin with a partial eclipse which will happen at 7:34 p.m. PT or 10:34 p.m. ET. The full eclipse will not happen until an hour later. Anyone can see the total lunar eclipse. Unlike the solar eclipse for which you probably need special viewing glasses to get the best view, the lunar eclipse doesn’t have such requirements. If the skies are clear then the view will be just perfect. The entire event will last for about an hour so there’s plenty of time to savor the moment. However, it will be nice to start viewing it right from the beginning of the partial eclipse until the end.
If you can grab a glass of wine and take it all in, you will have more fun. As for people who may not be in a position to view the eclipse directly, there will be some streaming sites online covering the entire event for you. Although it’s not nearly the same as watching it live with your own eyes, it’s still better than nothing. This is one of the rarest things on Earth and if you don’t take advantage now, you may have to wait 18 years for another chance.