Science & Tech

A ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’ will appear over Canada this Sunday

There is only one total lunar eclipse to be seen in 2019, and it's set to colour the moon red tonight
  • Jan 20, 2019
  • 2,899 words
  • 12 minutes
Expand Image

Canadian stargazers only have one opportunity to glimpse a total lunar eclipse this year, but for those who can see it, it’s going to be spectacular — and it’s happening tonight.

It’s being called a ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’ on social media, which, while it sounds exciting (and a bit scary), doesn’t differ drastically from a typical lunar eclipse. The term can be explained by a few factors: distance, appearance and timeliness.

At the time of the eclipse, the moon will be full and nearly at perigee, meaning closest to Earth in its elliptical orbit. In recent years, this phenomenon has come to be popularly known as a ‘super moon.’ Gazers can expect a fuller, brighter celestial body in the sky: on average, super moons appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than regular full moons.

‘Blood’ refers to the moon’s hue during a lunar eclipse. “Total lunar eclipses are quite rare celestial events, which occur when the moon passes into the Earth’s shadow,” explains Dr. Rachel Ward-Maxwell, an astrophysicist and researcher in astronomy and space sciences at the Ontario Science Centre. “Once it reaches totality, the moon will appear a reddish-brown colour, illuminated only by the sunlight refracted by the Earth’s atmosphere.”

Although, there is still a possibility that the eclipse sends the moon into darkness, with no red glow. “The brightness of the blood Moon depends on how much dust is in the Earth’s atmosphere, similarly to how the redness of the sky during a sunrise or sunset varies from day to day,” says Ward-Maxwell.

The final part of the name comes from the timing of the eclipse. In some folkloric traditions, the full moon in January is called the “Wolf Moon.”

For observers in the Eastern time zone, the show will commence with a partial eclipse at 10:33 p.m., while the total eclipse will hold the sky from 11:41 p.m. on January 20 to 12:43 a.m. on January 21. That means the eclipse will begin at 9:33 p.m. in the Central time zone, 8:33 p.m. in the Mountain time zone, 11:33 p.m. in the Atlantic time zone and so on. The ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’ will be visible in total eclipse from coast-to-coast-to-coast for 62 minutes, weather permitting. Unlike a solar eclipse, you can safely view a lunar eclipse with the naked eye.

Scroll down to see photos of the eclipse captured by #ShareCanGeo users on Instagram.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by John Entwistle – Whistler (@entwistlephoto) on

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Justin Russo (@justinrusso) on

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Arjun Yadav (@arjsun) on

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Cole Thorsen (@colethorsen) on

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Shane Kalyn (@4elementphotos) on

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Eric Batty (@ericbatty) on

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ???? ???? (@jennchanphotography) on

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Jesse Durocher (@jessedurocher) on

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Dmitry Nedugov (@dnedugov) on

Related Content

Travel

Trans Canada Trail celebrates 30 years of connecting Canadians

The trail started with a vision to link Canada coast to coast to coast. Now fully connected, it’s charting an ambitious course for the future.

  • 1730 words
  • 7 minutes
The pumpjack is an iconic symbol of oil in the West.

Science & Tech

13+ things you didn’t know about energy

Massive oilfields, huge offshore rigs, high-tech refineries, colossal dams, sprawling wind farms — how much do you really know about BIG power in Canada?

  • 2842 words
  • 12 minutes
Timber wolves in captivity

Wildlife

The big bad wolf?

Exploring our love-hate relationship with the wolf

  • 2369 words
  • 10 minutes
Andy McKinnon

Places

Canada’s first national urban park

It’s an ambitious plan: take the traditional Parks Canada wilderness concept and plunk it in the country’s largest city. But can Toronto’s Rouge National Urban Park help balance city life with wildlife?

  • 3601 words
  • 15 minutes