Stars Above: Get set for super blood moon eclipse

Stars Above: Get set for super blood moon eclipse

Stars Above: Get set for super blood moon eclipse

So informally speaking, the upcoming lunar eclipse will be a super blood wolf - or great spirit - moon.

Adding to the excitement is that this eclipse is occurring as the full moon reaches perigee - its closest it can to Earth - which is commonly referred to as a supermoon. The moon appears orange or red, the result of sunlight scattering off Earth's atmosphere.

January's full Moon is also known as a "wolf moon", a name deriving from Native American Tribes who said wolves would howl outside villages during full moons at the beginning of the year. From Hawaii to ME, all 50 states will have a chance to see it - the most widely visible lunar eclipse in the United States since October 2014.

The Super Blood Wolf Moon will be visible in the early hours of Monday morning. The eclipse will begin Sunday at 6:36 p.m.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon, Earth and sun line up with us being in the middle.

So, to recap: The moon will be closer to Earth than usual (a "super moon"). Full lunar eclipses occur between two and four times a year. The Earth blocks sunlight from reaching the Moon, which causes the Moon to glow red as the only light reflected from the lunar surface is refracted by the Earth's atmosphere. Unlike solar eclipses, the lunar varieties are safe to watch. You can also plan on around one to five super blood moons each decade, but they only fall in January three times this century (the third and final 21st-century super blood wolf moon barely qualifies, since it falls at the very end of the month on Jan. 31, 2037).

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But because Earth's atmosphere extends about 50 miles up, during a total eclipse, although the Moon is in shadow, there is a ring around our planet through which the Sun's rays still pass.

In the US, the eclipse will begin relatively early Sunday evening, making it easier for children to stay up and enjoy the show.

Then, the fun begins as the moon enters the umbra or darker shadow. But that last part is because of something much cooler: an eclipse. It will be the first full moon of the year (a "wolf moon"). If you decide to head out, look up and check it out, make sure to dress warm.

The next total lunar eclipse won't be until May 2021.

A cold front is expected to pass through the region Sunday, which will drop an arctic chill into the area, quickly plunging overnight temperatures into the 40s during the eclipse.

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