Don’t miss tonight’s total lunar eclipse of a blood, wolf, supermoon

by Patrice Johnson

Sunday night, Jan. 20, the Stockbridge area will be treated to a rare total lunar eclipse of a blood, wolf, supermoon. And we will not be alone. People throughout North and South America, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal and the French and Spanish coasts will be joining with us to peer into the heavens.

The total lunar eclipse will occur because the moon, Earth and sun will line up, and the moon will become totally engulfed in darkness as it passes through Earth’s shadow.

If that’s not cool enough, consider that this is a supermoon, closer to Earth than at any other time of the year. As a result, the man in the moon will appear 10 to 15 percent larger and brighter than usual.

What’s this wolf business? Indian folklore holds that wolves pack up in January. Hence, a full moon in January is called a wolf moon, or great spirit moon.

Blood? Thank particles in our atmosphere. According to AP News, “During totality, the moon will look red because of sunlight scattering off Earth’s atmosphere. That’s why an eclipsed moon is sometimes known as a blood moon.”

The Earth’s shadow will begin to nip at the moon around 10:34 p.m. EST Sunday night, Jan. 20. Totality—the complete blanketing of the moon—will last fairly long, 62 minutes, beginning at 11:41 p.m. EST and running into early Monday (see viewing chart below). Altogether, the eclipse process will take about three hours.

If the skies are clear, the entire eclipse will be visible to our little point on this orb. No special equipment needed. The rest of Europe, as well as Africa, will have partial viewing before the moon sets. Some places will be livestreaming the event, including the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

Monday is a federal holiday with most schools closed, making it easier for children to stay up and enjoy the astronomy show. The weather forecast is iffy, though, calling for clouds.

AP Newswire reported that Rice University astrophysicist Patrick Hartigan will catch the lunar extravaganza from Houston. “It’s just a wonderful thing for the whole family to see,” he said, “because it’s fairly rare to have all these things kind of come together at the same time.”

See video:

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Total lunar eclipse visible
Magnitude: 1.1953
Duration:5 hours, 11 minutes, 33 seconds
Duration of totality:1 hour, 1 minute, 58 seconds
Penumbral begins:Jan 20 at 9:36:29 pm
Partial begins:Jan 20 at 10:33:54 pm
Full begins:Jan 20 at 11:41:17 pm
Maximum:Jan 21 at 12:12:14 am
Full ends:Jan 21 at 12:43:15 am
Partial ends:Jan 21 at 1:50:39 am
Penumbral ends:Jan 21 at 2:48:02 am
Times shown in local time (EST)
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