The name of the unique celestial phenomenon might sound a bit dramatic, but then again, so is the phenomenon itself. On January 21, at around 12:12 AM EST, a total lunar eclipse called “super blood wolf moon” will be visible in the night sky. The name describes a total lunar eclipse that makes the moon appear larger and red to people on Earth. Total lunar eclipses only happen when the sun, Earth, and moon reach perfect alignment, causing the Earth’s shadow to hide the moon from view. By contrast, a total solar eclipse, like the one we witnessed in the US in 2017, is when the moon lands between the Earth and sun, blocking all light from reaching Earth.
Total lunar eclipses are the rarest type of lunar eclipses. January’s “super blood wolf moon” will be the first to hit the US in three years. If you’re wondering what produces the blood-red color, it’s because light traveling from the sun through the Earth’s atmosphere bends toward the moon, and red can pass through the atmosphere more easily than other colors, which get blocked and scattered.
The “super blood wolf moon” will be visible across North and South America, and parts of western Europe and Africa, from January 20-21. The exact moment of the moon’s eclipse will be 12:12 AM EST, but you should start watching the sky an hour earlier to witness the process. As always, for the best view, you should be as far as possible from any light pollution.