Super wolf blood moon: What to know and how to watch it

A Super Blood Wolf Moon lunar eclipse will occur tonight on Sunday, January 20, 2019.

"A lunar eclipse, you can just step outside and find a clear area where you can see the moon, and you'll be able to see the eclipse".

Although it is a total eclipse, the moon will never go completely dark but rather take on a coppery red glow - called a blood moon.

But because Earth's atmosphere extends about 50 miles up, during a total eclipse, although the Moon is in shadow, there is a ring around our planet through which the Sun's rays still pass.

'A little bit of sunlight is refracted by the Earth's atmosphere and reaches the Moon, bending around the edges of the Earth, ' explained Walter Freeman, an assistant teaching professor at Syracuse University's physics department.

The reddish color is why an eclipsed moon is sometimes called a "blood moon". "Ancient Greeks and others knew the Earth was round because of its shape on the shadow of the moon". Which is why scientists are calling Sunday's phenomenon the "super blood moon" or the "super blood wolf moon".

And since it appears in January, when wolves howled in hunger outside villages, it has earned the name wolf moon, according to The Farmers Almanac. It's just some rare cosmic geometry that will turn a big ol' full moon a spooky shade of crimson for a spell. Max eclipse will be at 11:12 PM with total eclipse coming to an end at 11:43 PM. That means it may be hard to see, because the Moon will be too low in the sky or the pesky Sun will make things too bright.

"These events are always a lot of fun because no matter what happens outside, we're going to party with the moon inside", Nichols said.

If you're not able to watch the event in person, Astronomers Without Borders will livestream the eclipse; watch it in the video above starting at 10:30PM ET on January 20. Indigenous tribes in North America kept track of seasons by observing the full moons, giving them names that related to their time of year. That may impact how well the total lunar eclipse can be seen.

Phases of the blood moon photographed by Michael Cerilo in Winnipeg on April 15, 2014.

A full calendar of Sunday night's events is available on NASA's website.

  • Valerie Cook