Super Simple Viewer’s Guide to the Total Lunar Eclipse Jan. 20–21

Eclipse guides can be annoyingly complex. Watching lunar eclipses is really easy. And they’re REALLY COOL. So here’s a super simple guide to the total lunar eclipse Sunday night, Jan. 20, visible from all of North and South America and western Europe and Africa.

Image for post
Image for post
Three photos show a total lunar eclipse from Sept. 27, 2015. The partial phase is seen before (right) and after (left) with totality in the middle. Image: Sean Walker/Sky & Telescope
Image for post
Image for post

How it Works

Image for post
Image for post
Image: NASA
Image for post
Image for post

Supermoon Rising

Image for post
Image for post
This full moon, on Dec. 3, 2017 seen from Washington, D.C. looked huge on the horizon. With photographs, the effect can be magnified further with telephoto lenses. Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Blood-Red Moon?

Image for post
Image for post
If Earth had no atmosphere, the moon would be totally black during a total lunar eclipse. But some red-hued sunlight refracts through the atmosphere and hits the moon (blue light gets scattered more and doesn’t pass through—that’s why the sky is blue!). Image (not to scale): Sky & Telescope

Total Super Bloody Wolf Moon Eclipse Lunacy

Fun Fact

Next Up

Image for post
Image for post
Due to the Moon’s off-center path through Earth’s full shadow (called the umbra), the northern half of its disk should look slightly brighter during totality than the southern half. Note again that these times are U.S. Pacific. Add three hours for Eastern, etc. etc. Image: Sky & Telescope

Explainer of things, independent health and science journalist, author, former editor-in-chief of LiveScience and Space dot com.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store