The last total lunar eclipse of the decade is set to occur this weekend, giving stargazers the chance to see a “super blood wolf moon.”
A few astronomical rarities—specifically that the moon will get closer to the earth and that it’s a total eclipse—will make the moon appear 13 percent larger, 16 percent brighter, and redder than usual, earning the “super blood” label. Full moons that occur in January are further known as “wolf moons,” according to Native American astronomy. The last total eclipse occurred in July 2018. The last wolf super moon was last January.
The entire event will last for three and a half hours, starting on Sunday night eastern time. At around 10:30 p.m., the moon will begin to become noticeably occluded by the earth’s shadow, or umbra, in a partial eclipse. The moon will become smaller and smaller until 11:41 p.m. when it reaches total eclipse, which will last for 63 minutes. The moon will begin to leave the umbra at around 12:43 a.m., and will become totally unobstructed at 2:48 a.m.
The astronomical event will be visible to viewers in North and South America, Greenland, Iceland, and certain parts of Europe and Africa. Most people in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand will be on the wrong side of the planet to properly see it.
Meteorologists are also forecasting storms in the U.S., which could make it more difficult to see the eclipse. If you are unable to see the super blood wolf moon due to weather or location, Astronomers Without Borders will be hosting a live webcast. Planetariums across North America will also be holding watch events, many of which are free.
While this is the only total eclipse of 2019, there will be two more supermoons on February 19 and March 21.