Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Coming on January 20: a full, blood, wolf moon!

On January 20, which, of course, is the second anniversary of Trump's inauguration, there will be an eclipse of the moon. Doyle Rice explains in USA Today,
"Blood" moon. That is just the reddish color the moon will appear during the total lunar eclipse. The moon won't turn black or vanish from the sky; instead it will appear to be a "reddish copper color," Murphy said, hence the name blood moon.

Although the moon is in Earth's shadow, some sunlight still reaches the moon. The sunlight passes through Earth's atmosphere, which causes our atmosphere to filter out most of the blue light.

Some sunlight reaches the Earth's atmosphere, which envelops the moon and gives it the rich color.

"Wolf" moon. According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, Native Americans called the January full moon the "wolf" moon because it appeared when wolves howled in hunger outside the villages.

The almanac said ancient peoples commonly tracked the seasons by following the lunar calendar (vs. today’s solar calendar).

For millennia, people across the world, including Native Americans, named the months after nature’s cues.

Full moon: Nothing special here: A full moon occurs every 29.5 days, so there have been a few billion full moons in Earth's history. This is just the moment when the bright side of the moon entirely faces the Earth.

Though the moon will be full precisely at 12:16 a.m. EST on Monday, Jan. 21, according to space.com, it'll still be plenty big through the rest of the night and for the next night or two. Just as it has for billions of years, the full moon will be visible to everyone around the world, barring pesky clouds.

Speaking of clouds, here's the big question: Will they ruin the view? Unfortunately, since the big event is more than two weeks away, accurate weather forecasts are not possible yet.

If you miss this month's total lunar eclipse, you have to wait until May 26, 2021, for the next one in the USA. The next partial lunar eclipse will be this summer, on July 16, but will be visible only in Africa and portions of Asia.

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