Published: Sun, January 20, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

'Blood moon' to slip into Earth's shadow

'Blood moon' to slip into Earth's shadow

According to Terry Moseley from the Irish Astronomical Association, one of the interesting things about eclipses is we don't know just how red it's going to be. NASA is calling the event a "super blood moon" because the moon will be closest to the earth during the full moon.

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Supermoons occur when the moon makes its closest elliptical orbit of earth and can make the moon appear up to 14pc bigger and 30pc brighter in the sky. Most of the time, when Earth is between the sun and the moon, the moon is far enough off-center for the sun's light to still hit the moon's full face. "It not only is a supermoon and it's a total eclipse, but the total eclipse also lasts pretty long".

The moon will pass through the shadow created by the Earth from the sun's light, creating a total eclipse of the moon.

A wolf moon is an old nickname given to the January full moon, and dates back to the days when Native American tribes assigned nicknames to each month's full moon to keep track of the seasons.

Will the moon appear red?

Tonight, millions of people across Americas, parts of western Europe, and Africa will be witness to a super blood wolf moon. The event starts at 02:36 UTC, however the part you don't want to miss (totality) starts at 04:41 UTC and will last for about an hour.

The moon, the Earth and the sun will all be lined up Sunday night into Monday morning for the only lunar eclipse we'll see in the next two years.

Whitstable garden observatory
Whitstable garden observatory

"Look out of a window facing towards the south or southwest and to get the rest of the eclipse, you need to have a clear view to the west".

The super blood moon will be upon us on Sunday night, January 20-21st.

While the lunar event is happening, football fans watching or attending the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs may be able to spot the eclipse.

As for the timing, the total eclipse will last almost three-and-a-half hours beginning at approximately 10:30 p.m. EST on Sunday.

"The moon will be red between about 4.40am and about 6.45am, so it's actually more than an hour that you have to observe this blood moon phenomenon where the moon is totally eclipsed", Mr Kerss said. Some sunlight still reaches the moon as it is bent by Earth's atmosphere.

"If you take a baseball and tennis ball, set them side by side and look at them from a distance of about 20 feet, they'll look pretty similar", said Patrick Hartigan, an astrophysicist at Rice University in Houston.

STARGAZERS will be setting their alarm clocks on Monday morning to catch a glimpse of a total lunar eclipse. As a result, you will see the lunar disk go from a dark gray color during the partial phase of the eclipse to a reddish-orange color during totality.

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