Don't miss the total (lunar) eclipse of the heart this month

James Marshall
January 5, 2019

U.S. space agency NASA expects the eclipse to reach zenith about 5.13am United Kingdom time (UTC) over the Western Hemisphere.

On July 16, people in much of Europe and Asia, as well as parts of south and east North America, South America and Antartica, will be able to view a partial lunar eclipse.

According to NASA, the total lunar eclipse and supermoon will be "one of the sky's most dazzling shows".

The term Supermoon was coined as early as 1979 and is used to describe the circumstances under which the Full Moon appears to be larger than on any other given night.

A supermoon appears when it is at a point during its orbit which is closest to each - or perigee.

Unlike the 86-percent visibility from the 2017 solar eclipse, the lunar eclipse later this month will be completely visible from Columbus.

Lyle Tavernier of NASA explained: "The Moon doesn't orbit in a flawless circle".

"The moon starts to enter into the Earth's shadow in a portion called the umbra when the sun is totally blocked out", he said.

"The farthest point in this ellipse is called the apogee, and is about 405,500 kilometres from Earth on average".

Super Blood Moon happens during a total lunar eclipse when the Earth passes in between the Sun and the Moon, blocking the Sun's light from falling directly on the Moon.

Also unlike its solar counterpart, the lunar eclipse will be completely safe to watch without glasses or gizmos. That's what the term "supermoon" refers to.

What is a Blood Moon?

Later in the month Brits will be able to see a "Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse".

The total lunar eclipse will start 11:41 pm ET on January 20, which is around 10:11 am on January 21 in India.

The moon doesn't orbit the Earth in a ideal circle, but rather elliptically, and it can get as close as about 222,000 miles away. However, the little light that manages to pass from the edges of the Earth's atmosphere lit up the Moon's surface and makes it look red.

The most exciting such event for US -based stargazers may be the so-called "Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse" on January 21, says Christian Veillet, an astronomer at the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory in Arizona.

This effect is known as Rayleigh Scattering and is equally responsible for the blue colour of the skies and orange sunsets.

What's going on: That may sound like something out of a supernatural science fiction novel or a "Twilight" reboot, but the moon is the result of a unique set of events that will begin Sunday, Jan. 20, and finish on Monday, Jan. 21, USA Today reports. "Beyond that, despite all the hullabaloo over the various names, there's still only one moon".

It's also know as old moon. Wolf Moon is the name given by native Americans to a full moon that appears in the middle of winter.

This is because when it appeared wolves howled in hunger outside villages.

"The Moon seems to hold some majesty and mystery, not only in folklore, but in the exploration of the celestial body itself".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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