You've seen blood moons, you've seen lunar eclipses, you've even seen the much-ballyhooed supermoon—but you haven't really lived until you've seen a super blood wolf lunar moon with your own two eyes. And you'll probably get your chance to do so this weekend.
View this post on Instagram
From @aaany_astrophotography - Get ready for the total lunar eclipse next week, Jan 20-21 EST. No special equipment needed, just look up at the moon as it enters the Earth's shadow. This sequence is from the Sept. 27, 2015 total eclipse from Mamaroneck, NY. 📷: Stan Honda, @stanhonda. . . . @aaadotorg will have public viewing with telescopes around NYC. Check the website for info. . . . #aaany_astrophotography #aaadotorg #uacnj #astronomypicturesdaily #spacedotcom #earthsky #universetoday #youresa #twan #newyork #nyc #lunar #lunareclipse #lovetheworld #nightphotography #night_excl #instalove #lunarlove #theoutbound #weekly_feature #imageoftheday #nightshooters #astrophotography #exploretocreate #wanderfolk #ig_color #yourESA #earthpix #lpfanphoto #thenakedsingularity
A post shared by Amateur Astronomers Assn Of NY (@aaadotorg) on
So there are a few different things occurring at once to create this particularly unique event: the "supermoon" occurs when the full moon's elliptical orbit is closest to the earth (this is also called the "lunar perigee"). This will also be the last total "lunar eclipse" until 2021. The "blood moon" describes the reddish/bloody coloring of the moon caused by the projection of Earth's sunrises and sunsets onto its surface during an eclipse. And "wolf moon" refers to the first full moon of the year.
As has been noted, it is incredibly uncommon to have a supermoon occur during an eclipse. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA believes that despite the weather this weekend, it should be visible in NYC (keep in mind of course that atmospheric conditions could change how much light is refracted onto it).
Now on to the most important part: when can we see it? The eclipse will begin at 9:36 p.m. on Sunday, January 20th (and bleed into Monday, January 21st). The best time to view the [extremely metal voice] super blood wolf lunar moon will be from 11:41 p.m. to 12:12 a.m. NASA says that at 12:12 a.m. it will be "the moment of greatest eclipse, when the Moon is halfway through the umbra." The phenomenon will be complete by 2:48 a.m.
In summation, this is all "great news for fans of the sky":