Total Lunar Eclipse Set to Wow Stargazers, Clear Skies Willing

A super moon combined with a lunar eclipse over the Edmonton skies in 2015.							Larry Wong  Edmonton Journal

A super moon combined with a lunar eclipse over the Edmonton skies in 2015. Larry Wong Edmonton Journal

The Super Blood Wolf Moon, a total Lunar Eclipse, will take place Sunday.

Complete path of the 2019 Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse.

The second phase of an eclipse sees the earth's fuller and darker shadow, the umbra, stretch across the face of the moon causing it to appear red and giving it the name "blood moon". Moon gazers in Central and Eastern Europe will see the moon set before it's entirely free of Earth's shadow. "At certain times during the orbit that means the moon will be closer to the Earth", said John Hart, Director of Smith Planetarium in Chickamauga.

What's even more interesting, on Saturday, the moon will be unusually close to the Earth and it will appear slightly bigger and brighter, making it a so-called "super moon". The Earth's shadow doesn't completely blot out the moon - light from the sun still shines through the atmosphere of our planet and gives the moon its reddish hue.

In January, the full moon is also sometimes known as the wolf moon or great spirit moon - hence the super blood wolf moon. Peak eclipse viewing is at 9:12 p.m. And when would you get to witness a total lunar eclipse next time?

The phenomenon will begin at 2.36am on Monday morning with a penumbral eclipse, when the lighter part of the Earth's shadow begins to fall on the Moon.

Throughout history, lunar eclipses and red-colored moons have inspired fear and awe.

A blood moon last happened in July 2018, though viewers in the United Kingdom struggled to see it due to clouds obscuring the celestial phenomenon.

Unlike the other wavelengths the Sun's red light is scattered much less by air allowing it to travel through the atmosphere where other colours are lost.

"We have a moderate chance that we will see partial clearing by this afternoon, with the best chance to see the eclipse tonight in the central and northern parts of the valley", she adds. That's when things get juicy, because it will look like half of the Moon has disappeared.

If you're not able to watch the event in person, Astronomers Without Borders will livestream the eclipse; watch it in the video above starting at 10:30PM ET on January 20. TimeandDate.com will live stream the event.

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