Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse
January 9, 2019

This sequence taken January 31, 2018 of the total lunar eclipse. Pic by: Phoenix New Times

We have an incredible sight to behold Sunday night January 20th. It’s the Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse! And its the first time in three years the entire United States can see the total lunar eclipse. This unique names comes from a variety of factors.

It’s a supermoon because the full moon is within 90% of its closest possible distance to Earth. On January 20th the moon is 222,274 miles from Earth with the moon’s orbital range from 221,681 miles (perigee) to 252,6222 miles (apogee) this year.  Because of the proximity to Earth supermoons appear bigger and brighter than an average full moon.

An example of what 7% bigger across and 13% bigger in area than average looks like. Courtesy: Sky & Telescope

Total lunar eclipses are called blood moons because the moon turns a dark red as it enters Earth’s shadow. The reason the moon appears this color during totality is because the only light that is able to get to the surface of the moon is red. Imagine being on the moon and looking up at Earth during an eclipse. At this moment you are seeing every sunrise and sunset on Earth. The red ring around Earth is what is refracted to the surface of the moon.

The January full moon is known as a “wolf moon” named after wolves who howl more in their breeding season.

Here is what you need to know the night of the 20th. The partial eclipse begins at 7:34pm with the moon appearing high in the northern sky. The eclipse lasts for almost three and a half hours with totality 1 hour and 3 minutes.  That’s plenty of time, with clear skies, to see the blood moon. Here are your eclipse times on the west coast (PST).

The lunar eclipse begins the moment the moon’s leading edge slips into the penumbra. The penumbra is the area of partial shadow where part of the sun is still visible.

Penumbral shading becomes deeper as the moon moves toward the first partial phase, which begins when the moon’s leading edge enters Earth’s umbra. The umbra is the innermost and darkest part of a shadow, where the light from the sun is completely blocked by the Earth. When the moon is within Earth’s umbral cone, no direct sunlight falls on its surface.

Totality starts when the trailing edge of the moon enters the umbra.

This is a picture I took from the September 27, 2015 eclipse from Universal Studios, it was the last time everyone in the U.S. could see a lunar eclipse.

This is from last January’s Blue Blood Lunar Eclipse. It’s also a good example how our phones don’t take good pictures or eclipses.

January 20th will be the final time a lunar eclipse and a supermoon occur at the same time until May 2021.

If you do capture a great picture I’d love to see it. Please tag me @anthonynbcla on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.  You can also send your eclipse pictures to Isee@nbcla.com.