NJ looks for Super Blood Wolf Moon Lunar Eclipse: how to view tonight
New Jersey astronomy buffs and casual stargazers alike are ready to view what's been dubbed the 'Super Blood Wolf Moon' Lunar Eclipse, very late Sunday night into Monday morning. This is your last chance to see a total lunar eclipse until 2021.
A NASA blog said that this eclipse is being referred to by some as a super blood moon – “super” because the Moon will be closest to Earth in its orbit during the full moon and “blood" because the total lunar eclipse will turn the Moon a reddish hue.
The "wolf" part of the buzzphrase has been attributed to the Farmers' Almanac, which in turn cited Native American and folklore in naming the first full moon of January.
Paul Cirillo, a board member with the New Jersey Astronomical Association, said the so-called "Super Blood Wolf Moon" will be full and bright, "But once it gets covered, it will be much easier to see."
Cirillo said as with any sky-gazing try to view it away from bright lights. "You do not need anything. You could take a pair of binoculars with you to see the things on the lunar surface." He said viewers should hope for a clear sky and just look up.
During a lunar eclipse, sunlight falling on the surface of the moon is blocked by Earth as it passes between the sun and the moon. As the shadow starts to fall on the lunar surface, it looks as if a bite has been taken out of the moon — a phase known as a partial eclipse.
NBC News said the partial eclipse is expected to begin at 10:33 p.m. Totality, when the moon reddens as it slips completely within Earth's shadow, will follow at 11:41 p.m. ET.
Lunar Mania is on at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. The home of the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere is open from 9am Sunday through 1 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21. The eclipse activities begin at 6 p.m. for ticket holders, with special planetarium shows, presentations, laser tag, and even lunar-themed cocktails for guests 21 and over.
Cirillo shared a few other tips for lunar eclipse gazing:
Shield the glare of the full moon with your hand and look just below (south) and a little to the right (west) and look for the Orion constellation. Easy to spot because it contains three bright stars in a line (Orion's belt).
Draw an imaginary line connecting them and then extend it to the right (west) and just past a bright orange star (Aldebaran), you will see a fuzzy patch. Look at it with any type of binoculars and you will see an amazing sight: A group of seven to nine bright stars. This is the Pleiades Open Star Cluster — also known as The Seven Sisters — which actually contains about a thousand stars.