Anatomy of a Super Blood Wolf moon

Andy Clark took this image of a lunar eclipse over Ashford in 2015

The first is called the penumbra, or the outer shadow. Totality - when Earth's shadow completely blankets the moon - will last 62 minutes, beginning at 11:41 p.m. EST Sunday. This kind of event does not happen every year.

The eclipse this weekend is special. This can only be possible when the Sun, Earth and Moon are exactly or very closely aligned and having the earth between them.

Strictly speaking the "blood moon" will not be visible in South Africa regardless of where you are in the country. The total event would last for about three and a half hours. "It's about an hour".

"This one is particularly good", said Rice University astrophysicist Patrick Hartigan. It will be fully visible in Greenland and Iceland. The first part of the eclipse will take place at 10:34PM ET / 7:34PM PT, leading up to the full blood moon coloration appearing at 12:12AM ET. Because the Earth blocks the sun from casting any light directly on the moon, it's only visible with indirect light filtered through the Earth's atmosphere. A sunset on Earth looks orange for a similar reason.

The moon is then "Super" because it is at its closest point to Earth.

When is the super blood wolf moon? A "wolf moon" is simply the folk name for a moon that happens in the month of January.

The eclipse will begin at around 2.30am and finish just before sunrise.

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"A mid-eclipse when you should see it at its reddest is about 5 o'clock, and it finishes about 8 o'clock".

In a nutshell, this is a rare enough occurence to be worth you standing outside on a blisteringly cold January night, staring up at the sky.

Scientist refer to the supermoon as a perigee-syzygy moon, National Geographic says.

He further stated that this will be the last total lunar eclipse until 2021.

Mario Ritter adapted this AP story for VOA Learning English.

The York County Astronomical Society has invited the public to peer through its observatory's telescopes for a close-up look In Pennsylvania. while extremely large crowds are expected in Los Angeles, some website will live-stream a telescopic view of the eclipse. We want to hear from you. Event details and passes for Lunapalooza can be found on the Adler's event page or Facebook event page.

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