A rare astronomical event is set to occur the night of January 20-21, and will be visible across North America, weather permitting...
, a total lunar eclipse begins on Sunday, January 20th at 11:41pm Eastern Standard Time, and totality continues for more than an hour until 12:43am on Monday the 21st.
, a full "wolf" supermoon will occur on Monday, January 21st (2:59pm to be exact).
, if you step outside at 12:00am on Monday, January 21st and look up at the moon, you will be witnessing a very rare "super blood wolf moon total lunar eclipse."
Moonrise is at 5:28pm in Boston on January 20th, so the moon will be well above the horizon and should be easy to see wherever you are. Weather permitting.
The total lunar eclipse is the "blood" moon part of this event — the term “blood moon” deriving from the reddish hue the moon takes on during an eclipse.
As for why it’s a supermoon: At the time of the event, the moon will be very close to perigee, its closest approach to Earth during its monthly orbit. When a full moon occurs at or near perigee, it gets supermoon status. The moon’s average distance from Earth is about 238,000 miles. Perigee on this orbit occurs Jan. 21 at 2:59pm EST at 222,042 miles.
And wolf moon? Ancient cultures gave full moons names based on the time of year. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, “Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for January’s full Moon.”
Photo: 2015's supermoon lunar eclipse over Boston's Prudential Tower by @michaelblanchard on Instagram: