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Home | Lifestyle | Amy's Everyday Science | Amy’s Everyday Astronomy: Total Lunar Eclipse This Weekend
Moon montage is courtesy of NASA/JPL

Amy’s Everyday Astronomy: Total Lunar Eclipse This Weekend

Long ago, during mid-winter in regions where it gets very cold, wolf packs would howl hungrily outside Native Villages during the full moon. This is why the January full moon is known as the Wolf Moon.

A super moon is the time of lunar perigee, when the moon is at its closest approach to Earth. This makes the moon appear particularly large in the sky. This year, sky watchers in both North and South America will be getting a spectacular treat this weekend as the Super Wolf Moon turns blood red.

During a full moon, the lunar surface is completely lit by the Sun. However, during a lunar eclipse, the full moon moves within the Earth’s shadow.

As rays from the Sun pass through the Earth’s atmosphere, the blue light we see on a normal day gets scattered, leaving the red and orange shades of sunset to get cast into space and onto the moon’s surface, giving it that reddish hue, as will happen this Sunday, January 20th.

Courtesy of Sky & Telescope source: Fred Espenak.

Locally, the eclipse will begin just minutes after 8:30pm MST. Weather predictions are for partly cloudy skies, but I am hopeful they will clear in time. Weather permitting, it promises to be a beautiful sight! So, grab your lawn chairs and cameras!

I want to see those pictures. Send them to me at lunapoetic@gmail.com and I will feature them in an upcoming article as well as on my Facebook page.

If location, mobility, or weather conditions prevent you from watching the eclipse in person, have no fear.

There are a number of websites you can visit in order to still view the event live online:

Slooh  |  Facebook via the San Francisco Exploratorium  |  Griffith Observatory in LA

***

For a daily dose of Everyday Astronomy with Amy, like and follow her Facebook Page; to read previous articles, click here.

About Amy Cooley

A native El Pasoan, Amy Cooley attended Parkland High School before beginning her studies in physics at EPCC. With her love of dark skies increasing, she transferred to New Mexico Tech University where she earned her degree in Astronomy. Moving back to El Paso in 2008, she now wants to share her love of the cosmos with the city she calls home.

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