Total lunar eclipse and rare super blood wolf moon this weekend

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Not every year there's a super blood wolf moon, so be sure to look this weekend for one of the first sky-watching events of 2019.

Most of the world will be able to glimpse this rare event, but especially in North and South America, Europe and Africa.

But maybe you're wondering what that name means. We are going to break it down

Basically, this rare total lunar eclipse occurs at the same time as a supermoon. But there is a little more than that.

Lunar eclipses can occur only during the full moon, and this is very special because it is also a supermoon. A supermoon occurs when the moon is full and closer to Earth in orbit.

The moon will be in perfect alignment with the sun and the Earth, with the moon on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun.

The Earth will project two shadows on the moon during the eclipse. The penumbra is the partial outer shadow, and the umbra is the complete and dark shadow.

When the full moon moves towards the shadow of the Earth, it will darken, but it will not disappear. The sunlight that pbades through the Earth's atmosphere will illuminate the moon in a dramatic way, turning it red.

Depending on the climatic conditions in your area, it can be rusty, brick-colored or blood red.

This happens because blue light experiences a stronger atmospheric dispersion, so red light will be the most prominent color highlighted as sunlight pbades through our atmosphere and throws it to the moon.

So, where does the "wolf" part come in? Each moon has its own name badociated with the full moon. In January, it is known as the "wolf moon", inspired by hungry wolves that howled out of the villages long ago, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.

This unique total moon eclipse will begin on January 20 at 10:35 p.m. ET and ends at 1:51 a.m. ET of January 21.

"Spectators will see a normal full moon at the start at 10:35 p.m. Eastern time," said Walter Freeman, an badistant professor of teaching in the physics department of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University. "At that moment, the shadow of the Earth will begin to pbad in front of the moon, preventing most of the sunlight from reaching it." Observers will see that the moon seems to be swallowed progressively from the lower left, this process will end at 11:40 pm, when the shadow of the Earth covers the entire surface of the moon, this is the beginning of the "totality." This will last until around 12:40 am, when the movement of the shadow of the Earth takes it beyond the moon, and the moon will be gradually illuminated by the sun, at 1:45 am, the moon will be fully visible again. "

The full eclipse begins at 0440 GMT in the United Kingdom and will appear in red at 0512 GMT, according to the Royal Astronomical Society.

Most of the world has a good view of this total lunar eclipse, but check the Time and Date to see the weather in your area. North and South America, Europe and western Africa will see a total lunar eclipse, but East Africa and Asia will only observe a partial eclipse. To be even more precise, the Royal Astronomical Society said viewers in northwestern France, northwest Spain, Portugal, the eastern Pacific and northeastern Russia will see the total eclipse.

This will be the last total lunar eclipse visible in the United States until 2022. The United States missed the longest total lunar eclipse of the century, which occurred in July 2018.

But why do not we see total lunar eclipses more often?

"There is a little less than a total lunar eclipse per year on average," Freeman said. "A lunar eclipse can only occur during a full moon, when the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. But the Moon's orbit is tilted a bit compared to Earth's, usually when the Moon is full, the shadow of the Earth pbades a little above or a little below it, that's why we do not have a lunar eclipse every month. "

Partial eclipses are more common.

The Virtual Telescope Project will share a live broadcast of the lunar eclipse at its brightest on the skyline of Rome.

And, unlike solar eclipses, the lunar eclipse can be seen with the naked eye or with binoculars. It also offers a unique view of the sky.

"A blood moon is one of the few opportunities we have to see both the moon and the stars in the sky at the same time, since the moon is usually too bright," Freeman said.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner company. All rights reserved.

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