Get ready for the 'super blood wolf moon' eclipse in January
A trio of lunar phenomena are set to combine in January to create rare and dramatic sight in the night sky.
Everyone from amateur stargazers and professional astronomers will get to see (weather permitting!) a super blood wolf moon on the night of January 20.
There are three reasons for this dramatic description:
1) There will be a total lunar eclipse, i.e. the sun and moon will be perfectly aligned on opposite sides of the Earth. The moon will be completely covered by the Earth's shadow and take on a reddish glow ― hence the nickname blood moon. NASA calculates there will be 85 total lunar eclipses this century.
2) The eclipse will also happen near the moon's perigee, a point in its orbit when it is closest to the Earth. This means the moon will appear slightly brighter and bigger than usual, known as a supermoon.
3) January's full moon has been referred to as a wolf moon for millennia as ancient civilisations tracked the changing seasons by the lunar months, naming the months after features they associated with the northern hemisphere seasons including howling wolves.
Astronomers say the super blood wolf moon eclipse will last around three and a half hours, and a full lunar eclipse will not be seen again until May 2021.
The folks at Nasa are certainly excited having published an article stating: "Viewers in North and South America, as well as those in western parts of Europe and Africa, will be able to watch one of the sky's most dazzling shows."
Furthermore, 2019 is set to be an awesome astronomical year with more eclipses, a stunning meteor shower (Eta Aquarid), a rare transit of Mercury across the night sky.