Home / Science / A great total lunar eclipse is coming soon!

A great total lunar eclipse is coming soon!



More than three years have passed since most North America saw a good total lunar eclipse. So be sure to put a big circle on your calendar for Sunday, January 20th.

The viewing conditions for the full moon eclipse that evening will be as good as they can get too much from the US and Canada. The eastern side of the continent has the best view, but the moon's spectacle completely immersed in the earth's shadow is easily visible from coast to coast. The duration of totality will also be longer than normal: it will be for 1 hour and 2 minutes.

Moreover, as it does at the beginning of the evening, eclipse should be of great interest among the millions of people who can see it during normal waking hours. Amateur groups should take the opportunity to warn schools and news media about their eclipses and amateur astronomy in general. How about placing a neighborhood eclipse party? [Super Blood Moon Total Lunar Eclipse: Complete Guide]

  A map showing the regions that can see Jan 21, 2019, total lunar eclipse.

A map showing the regions that can show on January 21, 2019 the total lunar eclipse.

Credit: Espenak / Meeus / NASA / GSFC

To describe a lunar eclipse, I like to use a cinema analogy. The theater, in this case, is the night side of the earth. The "screen" is the full moon, and the "film" is the progression of the earth's shadow over the moon's face.

Everyone in the theater watching the movie sees the same thing as everyone else around them watching. And in the same way, everyone on the night side of the earth who has the full moon in the sky during the eclipse will see the same event at the same time.

The total phase of eclipse will be seen from the western hemisphere, Europe and the western part of Africa as well as the northernmost parts of Russia. On the whole, provided good weather conditions, this shady little drama will have a potential audience of about 2.8 billion people .

As is the case in a large theater, auditorium or concert hall, some will have a better idea than others. For the upcoming eclipse, the "orchestral sites" will definitely be in North America, which will see this celestial prominence high in mid-winter sky. "Front row center" belongs to those who live near and along the American East Coast, where the completely darkened moon will climb to extraordinary heights.

From New York City in the middle world, the dark moon will be 70 degrees up from the southern horizon – your clenched fist is held in the arm's length measuring about 10 degrees wide, so it is "seven fists" from the horizon. The last time New Yorkers could look so high in a completely darkened moon was 1797, when John Adams was president; The next opportunity will not come until 2113. Further south, the moon will show even higher. From Cape Hatteras it will reach 75 degrees; Orlando, 80 degrees; and Miami, 83 degrees.

And from eastern Cuba, the moon will appear immediately.

Conversely, for those in Europe, the eclipses will be low in the western sky as the moon approaches its attitude at dawn on Monday, Jan. 21. In fact, for central and eastern Europe, the moon sets before it is completely free of the earth's shadow.

Here is a complete timetable describing the different stages of eclipse during six different occasions zones:

Local circumstances of the total lunar eclipse on January 20, 21, 2019
Standard time [19659018] East Central Mountains Pacific Ocean Alaska Hawaii [19659024] Moon enters penumbra 9:36 8:36 7:36 6:36
Moon goes into umbra 10:45 pm 19:34 8:34 7:34 6:34 pm
Total eclipse begins 11: At 19.00 10:41 21:41 8:41 7:41 6: 41
Middle of Eclipse 12:13 11:13 10:13 9:13 8:13 7:13
Total eclipse ends ] 12:43 ] 11:43 10:43 9:43 8:43 [19659042] 7:43 pm
The moon leaves umbra 1:51 am 12: 51 am 11:51 10:51 9:51 8:51
Moon leaves penumbra 2:48 am 1:48 What really makes this event "America & # 39; s Eclipse" are two display criteria that I specifically set for the coherent (48) states:

1) The entire eclipse is visible from beginning to end.

2) Total starts before midnight from coast to coast.

In my more than 50 years of observation of lunar eclipses, only two eclipses meet these criteria. One occurred in April 1968 and the other occurred the same day – Jan 20-19 years ago. As you can see by examining the timetable, our upcoming eclipse also qualifies.

And it will take place on Sunday evening on the three-day Martin Luther King Jr holiday weekend in the United States. This will be the first time since 1975 that a total lunar eclipse coincides with a holiday. With no school on Monday, children of all ages should be able to stop and look at this moonlight, no matter how late it is.

  This NASA graphic offers basic details of January 21, 2019, the total lunar eclipse. The red circle is the darkest shadow of the earth, the umbraen. The thick gray ring around it represents the outer part of the earth's shadow, the penumbra. The thin black rings indicate the position of the moon as it moves through the earth's shadow.

This NASA graphic offers basic details of January 21, 2019, the total lunar eclipse. The red circle is the darkest shadow of the earth, the umbraen. The thick gray ring around it represents the outer part of the earth's shadow, the penumbra. The thin black rings indicate the position of the moon as it moves through the earth's shadow.

Credit: Espenak / Meeus / NASA / GSFC

Most of Alaska will see all stages of eclipse unlimited, but eclipse will already occur when the moon rises from the Aleutian islands.

Likewise, observers in Hawaii should pay particular attention to the rising full moon early Sunday evening at 6:10 pm. Hawaiian time, for eclipse is already going on. When the sun sets in the west-southwest, the moon will come up on the opposite side of the sky in the east-northeast; and the Earth's umber will already cover the lower half of the moon's disk. An interesting observation to try is to try to see the partially darkened rising moon and sunbeam at the same time. In a perfect syzygy adjustment like this, such observation would seem impossible; but thanks to our atmosphere the images of both the sun and the moon were lifted over the horizon by atmospheric mining. This allows us to see the sun for several extra minutes after it has actually set and the moon for several extra minutes before actually rising. This situation is known as a "selenium". The low, partially darkened moon in deep blue tropical twilight should offer a wide range of interesting natural opportunities for both artists and photographers. [What Is a Lunar Eclipse? When and Why Blood Moons Occur]

When we get closer to the eclipse at night, Space.com will provide an "observer's kit" for the eclipse and we will go into much more detail about what to look for. But at the moment I will give a more or less capsule summary of what to expect.

The first listed event is the moon's edge in the penumbra, the pale outer part of the earth's shadow. However, this event is absolutely undeniable. No change will be visible until about 25 minutes before the moon begins to enter the darker umber. Around then, a slight shading would be detectable on the moon's eastern (left) side, which, as the protocols tick out, seems to be scattered and deepened.

When the moon begins to enter the umbra, the change is dramatic. This part of the earth's shadow is much darker than penumbra and rather sharp edges. When the umbra begins more of the moon, the darkened part is likely to begin to glow with a deep brown or ovarian color.

Under the totality, which will be 62 minutes, the moon will shine like an eerie ball – which will appear almost three-dimensionally to the eye, and especially in binoculars and small telescopes. The moon's color during the coming whole is not known. Some eclipses are so dark, gray-black in color that the moon almost disappears from the view. In other eclipses, a bright orange may glow.

The reason why the moon can be seen at all when it is completely darkened is that the sunlight is scattered and broken around the earth by our atmosphere, and enough this light reaches the moon to give it a weak, glittering glow even when it is completely darkened. Because the moon will travel through the northern part of the earth's shadow, the upper part of its disc will probably look slightly brighter than the lower part, as the upper part will be closest to the outer edge of the earth's shadow.

Total ends when the northeast (upper left) limb comes out of the umbra. The events are now unfolded in reverse order. Umbra edge will take just over an hour to retreat over the moon's face. In a further 25 minutes, the last penumbral shade should be gone, leaving the full moon at its normal shine.

As one who has been involved in broadcasting news for over four decades, I can tell you that the usual media is currently in what can best be described as a "branding rage". Conditions like "polar vortex" and "bomber cyclone" are two examples of words that beginners now use when describing a transient spell of frigid weather or a rapidly intensifying storm. Broadcasters recommend news collection agencies to do this to alert a story immediately.

Now, with the lunar eclipse approaching, we find that it has also acquired a brand. Unnamed: "Super Blood Wolf Moon" eclipse.

Traditionally, January is the full moon known as "Wolf Moon". Names like these are said to have been distributed by people living in old England or from Indians and are published today in many popular almanacs, as well as here at Space.com. [Full Moon Names: From Wolf Moons to Cold Moons]

The term "Blood Moon" is at least one missnomer. In fact, the color (or colors) that the moon will take on all the time actually depends a lot on the state of the atmosphere and can trace the gamut from black or gray to brown or red, even something resembling a light copper penny. So to notice a lunar eclipse that occurs in the color of the blood is simply wrong.

I strongly suspect that the term came from a book that was published in 2013 by two Christian doomsday theorists who suggested that a series of lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015 designated catastrophic portents. And what better way to propose any disasters than to refer to the mention of blood? How sad that in the 21st century world still prophesies of death promoting a lunar eclipse – a life-enriching phenomenon – as a lover of a catastrophic event.

PS … The eclipses came and went, the supposed accidents never happened, but unfortunately Blood Moon branding remains.

Sometimes a full moon coincides with the perigee – it points to the lunar orbit when it is closest to the earth – and will seem somewhat larger than usual. Traditionally, a full moon acting within 90 percent of the moon's perigee serves as the title "supermoon". As it turns out, it is therefore the reason why the upcoming full moon is called a "super" moon. And the fact that it coincides with a total eclipse has the media agog with excitement.

But indeed a so-called "supermoon" is not so great when it coincides with a total lunar eclipse. The totality lasts mainly on the distance of the moon from the earth. When the moon is near perigee, it moves faster in its orbit, compared to when it is near apogee, its longest point from the earth. so it sweeps through the umbra faster.

If the moon was near apogee instead, I decided that we would look up to 8 extra minutes in total .

So get it excited if you want the moon's unusual closeness in this month's eclipse, and call it "super" if you want. But the bottom line is, when the moon is close, the amount of time it is completely immersed in the umber will be significantly shortened compared to a moon further out into space.

If only the ordinary media could say what it is and simply say that January 20, we will be treated to one of nature's amazing heavenly shows.

A total lunar eclipse!

Joe Rao works as an instructor and guest teacher at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for the magazine Natural History, Farmers Almanac and other publications, and he is also a meteorologist on camera for Verizon FiOS1 News in the New York Lower Hudson Valley. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Original article on Space.com.


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