'Super blood wolf moon' eclipse to darken skies

18 January, 2019, 15:40 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • The 'Super Blood Wolf Moon' will be visible over Orlando this weekend

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes exactly between the Sun and the Moon creating a shadow which stops solar rays reaching the lunar surface.

A relatively rare celestial treat may be visible this weekend to Washington state residents, and anyone else on the dark side of the Earth with a clear sky. January's eclipse combines a blood moon with a full super moon.

Finally, full moons are given monthly names, and this one happens to be the "wolf" moon. For the keen sky-watchers the lunar disk will appear a few percent larger and brighter than usual making it a lovely sight to soak in and a great photo opportunity.

But none of that makes it special.

Edmontonians will have the chance to view the lunar eclipse in style Sunday evening while celebrating with space-themed activities at the Telus World of Science.

A year ago saw a "super blue moon" total lunar eclipse, but a mostly cloudy day made for a spotty view at best. That mean that when the moon is at its closest point to Earth - known as the perigee - it can appear up to 17 percent larger than it does at the farthest point in its orbit.

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Events include a special presentation in the renovated Zeidler Dome about the geometry of the eclipse as well as a peek at the new S.P.A.C.E. Gallery featuring a real piece of the Moon.

Environment Canada is calling for clear skies during the eclipse, but the event will be cancelled if "the sky is too cloudy the event", the society said.

As the eclipse starts, viewers will see Earth's creep across the moon. Rather, it takes on a reddish glow from refracted light as the heavenly bodies move into position - hence the "blood moon" moniker.

Once totality occurs, one of three things could happen, and there's no way to predict which it will be, Sullivan said.

So there's the super and blood parts of the moon. It could also turn a coppery red, which Sullivan described "as the most attractive thing". Green and blue don't make it through, scattered away by the particles in the Earth's atmosphere. For a shadow, it will be quite bright: Before a potential audience of almost three billion people, the moon will gradually transform into a glowing copper-colored orb, tinted by sunlight bouncing off and passing through the air in our planet's dense atmosphere. The moon doesn't disappear from sight but does become "10,000 or so times dimmer than usual".

First, let's look at the "blood" part of the name. The entire nine-and-a-half-hour event can be seen from coast-to-coast-to-coast, though what we'll actually be able to see will last just over four hours.

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