Late at night between Sunday, January 20 and Monday, January 21, the moon will pass through the shadow cast by the Earth. Anyone in North and South America – as well as parts of Northern Europe and the northwest coast of Africa – will be able to see a full eclipse, all of which will cover the moon for one hour and two minutes.
What's more, the moon will be near its closest approach to Earth, making it "supermoon," which means it will appear slightly larger in the sky. This will also be the final total lunar eclipse until May 2021. So, check it out!
The partial eclipse phase starts at 9:36 east time on the 20th. A full eclipse – marked by a shadow of a blood red shadow on the moon – starts at 11:41 East and ends at 12:43 at 21. Check when the eclipse starts at local time You, and hope the sky is clear!
Why do we have a lunar eclipse?
The simple answer is "because the moon sometimes passes through the shadows of the Earth." But there is more to it.
For one, it must occur during the full moon. When the moon is full, it means the sun, Earth, and the moon are in parallel positions, such as:
Now, you might think: "Why don't we have a lunar eclipse every full moon?"
The moon's orbit does not fully match the Earth. It tilts 5 degrees:
No one is really sure why, but that might have something to do with how the moon might have formed: from a large object that hit Earth.
This means during the full moon, the shadow longs for the moon, as you can see in the diagram above.
There are two points in orbit in the moon where the shadow can fall on Earth. This is called a node.
For total eclipses to occur, the moon must be at or very close to one node.
When the sun, Earth and moon are aligned on a knot, VOA! The moon falls into the path of the Earth's shadow.
There are usually two or three lunar eclipses in a given year, and every person who is fortunate enough to be on the side of the night during a lunar eclipse has the opportunity to see it.
You don't need special equipment or protective goggles to see it (not like a total solar eclipse). But a pair of binoculars will give you a better view, more detailed about the geography of the moon when it is dark in shadow.
Is that supermoon?
The moon's orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle. It's an ellipse, the shape of the cup is longer than its width. When the moon follows this orbit, it is sometimes closer to Earth and sometimes farther away. In perigee, the closest place in its orbit to Earth, the distance is about 31,068 miles closer to Earth than in apogee, when it is farthest away.
Meanwhile, we see various phases of the moon – full, crescent, wax, and waning gibbous – depending on whether the side of the moon facing the sun is facing Earth.
Supermoon is when these two cycles are suitable and we have a full moon close to the perigee. The result is that the "super" full moon appears slightly larger and slightly brighter in the sky. This happens about one in every 14 months, Jim Lattis, an astronomer at the University of Wisconsin Madison, notes.
The difference between a normal full moon and a supermoon is not very significant. Neil deGrasse Tyson calls too much hustle and bustle around supermarkets. "If you have a 16-inch pizza, would you call it a super pizza compared to a 15-inch pizza?" StarTalk radio show. For the most part, NASA explained, the difference between a normal full moon and a supermoon is "indistinguishable" from the human eye.
Supermoon has no astronomical significance other than making slightly larger targets to be seen by backyard astronomers.
Why does the moon turn red during a lunar eclipse?
During a total solar eclipse – like what happened in North America last summer – the entire sun disc that is brighter than light turns black, revealing the sun's atmosphere.
What happens during a total lunar eclipse is rather less dramatic, but still beautiful.
When sunlight passes through the atmosphere, the gases in it are trapped and spread blue light in the spectrum. (This is why the sky looks blue.) The wavelengths of red, orange, and yellow pass through the shadow of the Earth and are projected onto the moon.
Basically, as explained by Joss Fong of Vox, a total lunar eclipse is like projecting all the sunsets and the sun rises to the moon.
Watch: Eclipses, explain