Cloudy Skies to Compromise Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse Tonight
Tonight is THE night to literally howl at the moon. If you can see it.
An alignment of the sun, Earth and moon will transform the heavens with a super blood wolf moon eclipse. This is the only total lunar eclipse of 2019.
Total lunar eclipses occur only during full moons and it involves the moon moving through the Earth’s shadow. Sunlight passing around the outer surface of the Earth is filtered by particles in the atmosphere, casting the blood moon glow of total lunar eclipses. An astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, Jackie Faherty, said, "If you were standing on the surface of the moon when this event was happening, and you were staring back at the Earth, what you would see is this beautiful reddish-orangish tinted ring.That ring of light is made up of every sunrise and sunset happening on Earth at that moment in time. It’s the same light that makes the moon look red to those of us on Earth during the eclipse."
Astronomers said the super blood wolf moon eclipse may be darker than other lunar eclipses because of the closer proximity of Earth and moon. The moon orbits around the Earth every 27.3 days in a path that is slightly elliptical, meaning it can be closer or farther from Earth throughout the month. When the full moon occurs during the moon’s closer proximity to Earth, that full moon is called a super moon because it appears slightly larger than at other times of the year. The second full moon in a month is a blue moon.
First contact with the Earth’s shadow is at 6:36 p.m. The partial phase of the eclipse begins at 7:33 p.m. Sunday, gradually darkening until totality is reached at 8:41 p.m. when the red glow envelopes the moon surface. The greatest eclipse is at 9:13 p.m. Totality ends at 9:43 p.m. The second partial phase ends at 10:50 p.m. The last part of the eclipse ends at 11:48 p.m.
Monthly full moons have acquired different names over time and the one in January is a wolf moon, a name derived from Native Americans, who heard the howling of wolves hungry for food in the dead of winter.
More commonly, people know the full moon in September as the harvest moon. In October, it is the hunter’s moon.
This area will see its next total lunar eclipse on May 26, 2021, with totality at 4:11 a.m. It will be followed by two more in 2022.
If today's weather system arrives earlier than expected and starts to leave the region sooner, there is a chance for cloud breaks to let the moon shine with the glow of reddish light passing through the atmosphere of Earth.
Cross your fingers. Happy gazing.