A total lunar eclipse will occur Sunday night, also known as super blood moon eclipse. Don't forget to head outside Sunday night into Monday morning to watch it unfold. Conditions for the eclipse should be mostly clear with some clouds along the coast, it will be very cold so bundle up when you go outside to see it. Wind chills will be in the teens at that point, here's some graphics and about the lunar eclipse below!
What is the Super Blood Moon eclipse?
Visible for its entirety in North and South America, this eclipse is being referred to by some as a super blood moon – “super” because the Moon will be closest to earth in its orbit during the full moon and “blood" because the total lunar eclipse will turn the Moon a reddish hue.
Eclipses can occur when the Sun, the Moon and Earth align. Lunar eclipses can happen only during a full moon, when the Moon and the Sun are on opposite sides of Earth. At that point, the Moon can move into the shadow cast by Earth, resulting in a lunar eclipse. However, most of the time, the Moon’s slightly tilted orbit brings it above or below Earth’s shadow.
This will be the last total lunar eclipse until May 2021 and the last visible in the U.S. until 2022.
When's the peak blood moon eclipse?
The peak of the total lunar eclipse will happen shortly after day's end on Sunday, Jan. 20, on the U.S. east coast, at 12:16 a.m. EST (0516 GMT) on Monday, Jan. 21.
The full experience, from the start of the partial eclipse to the end, will last 3 hours and 17 minutes.
What to expect, best times to see it
The Moon passes through two distinct parts of Earth’s shadow during a lunar eclipse. The outer part of the cone-shaped shadow is called the penumbra. The penumbra is less dark than the inner part of the shadow because it’s penetrated by some sunlight. (You have probably noticed that some shadows on the ground are darker than others, depending on how much outside light enters the shadow; the same is true for the outer part of Earth’s shadow.) The inner part of the shadow, known as the umbra, is much darker because Earth blocks additional sunlight from entering the umbra.
At 9:36 p.m. EST on January 20, the edge of the Moon will begin entering the penumbra. The Moon will dim very slightly for the next 57 minutes as it moves deeper into the penumbra. Because this part of Earth’s shadow is not fully dark, you may notice only some dim shading (if anything at all) on the Moon near the end of this part of the eclipse.
At 10:36 p.m. EST, the edge of the Moon will begin entering the umbra. As the Moon moves into the darker shadow, significant darkening of the Moon will be noticeable. Some say that during this part of the eclipse, the Moon looks as if it has had a bite taken out of it. That “bite” gets bigger and bigger as the Moon moves deeper into the shadow.
At 11:42 p.m. EST, the Moon will be completely inside the umbra, marking the beginning of the total lunar eclipse. The moment of greatest eclipse, when the Moon is halfway through the umbra, occurs at 12:13 a.m. EST).
As the Moon moves completely into the umbra, something interesting happens: The Moon begins to turn reddish-orange. The reason for this phenomenon? Earth’s atmosphere. As sunlight passes through it, the small molecules that make up our atmosphere scatter blue light, which is why the sky appears blue. This leaves behind mostly red light that bends, or refracts, into Earth’s shadow. We can see the red light during an eclipse as it falls onto the Moon in Earth’s shadow. This same effect is what gives sunrises and sunsets a reddish-orange color.
A variety of factors affect the appearance of the Moon during a total lunar eclipse. Clouds, dust, ash, photochemical droplets and organic material in the atmosphere can change how much light is refracted into the umbra. Additionally, the January 2019 lunar eclipse takes place when the full moon is at or near the closest point in its orbit to Earth – a time popularly known as super-moon. This means the Moon is deeper inside the umbra shadow and therefore may appear darker. The potential for variation provides a great opportunity for students to observe and classify the lunar eclipse based on its brightness.