Super Blood Wolf Moon

No, that's not the name of my new heavy metal band (Wolfmother is already taken and is too similarly named, dammit) nor is it the name of a song by goth rockers, The Cult (you're thinking of Brother Wolf, Sister Moon... but points for being close).

Super Blood Wolf Moon is what some media outlets are calling the total lunar eclipse of January 20, 2019. Why so many adjectives for a simple lunar eclipse? Here's what they mean.

  • Super — The word Super is often appended when the full Moon coincides with it being at a point in its orbit when it is closest to Earth (known as perigee). The full Moon on January 20th will be at its closest point in this particular orbit, hence, it is super. It appears slightly larger than at other times but it's a fairly subtle difference.
  • Blood — A dramatic way of noting that the Moon turns an orange-ish red hue during total lunar eclipses due to refracted sunlight passing through Earth's atmosphere and falling on the Moon. Green and blue light gets refracted (bent) away from Earth's shadow but longer wavelength red light gets refracted inward and falls on the disc of the Moon during an eclipse. So, blood = red.
  • Wolf — This adjective for a full Moon is more esoteric and refers to names given to each month's full Moon by Native American people according to the Old Farmer's Almanac. I'll leave it to the Almanac to provide more detail on that one.

So there you have it — the Super Blood Wolf Moon is coming. You can't hide. It's going to get you.

Assuming the weather is good in your area, it's worth viewing. A lunar eclipse is an eerie and beautiful site. It doesn't have the drama and spectacle of a total solar eclipse, but it is still a sight to behold. This particular eclipse is a good one to view because totality starts at about 8:40 PM PT and ends at about 9:40 PM PT... on a Sunday before a holiday (if you're lucky enough to have MLK Jr. Day off). If you don't have Monday off from work, the totality phase of the eclipse still ends early enough to watch all of it, then go brush your teeth, get into your jammies and go to bed.

We experienced a similar lunar eclipse at about the same time last year but that one wasn't very kind to most people's sleep schedule with totality occurring at about 5:30AM PT. Here's an image of that one and an indication of what to expect visually for the Total Lunar Eclipse of January 20, 2019!

Get more information about the Super Blood Wolf Moon of 2019 here: