On the night between Sunday 20 and Monday 21 January, a good fraction of the world’s population will be able to look up to see our bright Moon slowly turn dark orange.
The phenomenon known as a total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes directly between the Moon and the Sun, hiding the light that illuminates the surface of our satellite.
This will be the first lunar eclipse of the year, with three more eclipses expected in 2019. Even though UAE residents will be able to enjoy the supermoon, the eclipse will, unfortunately, start after the moon sets on the horizon, according to Dr Hasan Al Hariri, CEO of the Dubai Astronomy Group.
The moon, Earth and sun will line up this weekend for the only total lunar eclipse this year and next. At the same time, the moon will be ever so closer to Earth and appear slightly bigger and brighter than usual – a supermoon.
The whole eclipse starts Sunday night or early Monday, depending on location, and will take about three hours.
If the skies are clear, the entire eclipse will be visible in North and South America, as well as Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal and the French and Spanish coasts. The rest of Europe, as well as Africa, will have partial viewing before the moon sets.
At times, the moon will look red because of sunlight scattering off Earth’s atmosphere. That’s why an eclipsed moon is sometimes known as a ‘blood moon’. In January, the first full moon of the year is also sometimes known as the ‘wolf moon’ or great spirit moon.
So informally speaking, the upcoming lunar eclipse will be a ‘super blood wolf moon’.
The Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand are out of luck. But they had prime viewing last year, when two total lunar eclipses occurred.
The next total lunar eclipse won’t be until May 2021.
Source Credit: The National