Blood Moon. Supermoon. Wolf moon. The lunar eclipse, starting on the night of January 20, has collected many descriptors. But the point is that this Sunday, the Earth will block the sun from reaching the moon, and it will probably look amazing.
WATCH LIVE: If you cannot reach a patch of clear sky, watch the lunar eclipse in the player above, thanks to timeanddate.com. Coverage will begin at TKTK ET.
All North and South America will be able to see a full eclipse – at least those areas that are lucky enough to get a clear sky. Most of Africa and Europe will catch at least part of the event, but India, China, Australia and all of them unfortunately will miss the action.
If you want to witness eclipses in real life, viewers in the Eastern Standard Time zone can expect to see eclipses reaching totality with high moons in the sky at 11:41 a.m. and continue for about one hour.
Here's a brief description of some of the words people use to describe this heavenly event:
A lunar eclipse occurs when the shadow of the Earth passes through the moon. They occur only on the full moon. Partial or total lunar eclipses occur up to three times per year and are often seen from a large plot of the planet at a time.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and moon of the Earth are in almost straight lines, as will happen on an overnight program (January 20-21). Partial lunar eclipses occur when only a few months pass through the shadow created by Earth. The third class – the eclipse penumbras – is difficult to see. They occur when the moon passes through a larger but not too different shadow area thrown by the Earth, only blocking part of the sun.
Any lunar eclipse can be called a "blood moon" lately. When the Earth blocks direct sunlight so as not to bounce off the surface of the moon, it does not block the light from bending and scattering through the Earth's atmosphere. Basically, the moon when a lunar eclipse reflects light from every sunrise or sunset on Earth.
That means that if you stand on the moon and look back at the Earth during a lunar eclipse, you will see warm orange or red rings around the planet.
The actual color of the "blood moon" will differ depending on atmospheric conditions. Ash from recent volcanic eruptions, for example, can make the moon appear redder.
Read more about the myth of the "blood moon" and the popularity of the term inspired by the apocalypse here.
This eclipse has been referred to as "supermoon." Because the moon orbits the Earth in an elliptical pattern, sometimes closer to the planet and sometimes a little farther away. Supermoon occurs when the moon is at or near the perigee – the closest point to the Earth in its orbit. This year, there will be three supermons, but this is the only one that coincides with the eclipse.
There is not much evidence that the "wolf moon" is anything but a cool name for the month of January. Some claim that it is a medieval Native American or European tradition, but others consider all of these names to be astounding lunar eclipses as, um, which are unnecessary.