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Sunday's 'Super Blood Wolf Moon' 2nd to Last of Century

Newser — Jenn Gidman

Do we have too many types of moons? Maybe, but get ready for this weekend's newest arrival: something called a "super blood wolf moon." Sunday's celestial event will be the only total lunar eclipse for the next couple of years—the next one after that is in May 2021—and it should be a bloody good show.

For just over an hour that night, people in any part of the US (though not Alaska's Aleutian Islands—sorry), as well as those in South America and parts of Europe and Africa, will get to see the rare obscuring, CNET reports.

The Wall Street Journal explains why the moon will seem red: "Because particles in the Earth’s atmosphere scatter blue light, only the remaining red light will reach the moon" and bounce off it "when the Earth blocks the sun."

The "super moon" tag is due to the moon appearing larger as it marks its closest point to Earth in its orbit.

The "wolf" part of the name, meanwhile, just refers to any full moon in January. The big show kicks off at 9:36pm EST Sunday, per NASA; an hour later, it will "look like a little bite was taken out if it," a Rice University astrophysicist tells the Journal; and by 11:41pm, our resident satellite will be at peak super blood wolf status, fully in Earth's shadow.

That part will last until 12:43am Monday before it all starts to reverse. There won't be another one of these moons until Jan. 31, 2037, and then that'll be it for the century, so make sure you set your watch on Sunday.

Those who can't get outdoors can watch it live instead via the Virtual Telescope Project. (One thing you won't be able to see: the cotton growing on the far side of the moon.)

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