Total Lunar Eclipse

Triple treat for January’s second full moon

January’s second full moon will be a triple treat: it will be this month’s second full moon; the second perigee full moon; and best of all, there will be a total lunar eclipse! 

The ‘Super Blue Blood Moon’

The full Moon on January 31st will have its own special show, a total lunar eclipse! The full moon will slide through the dark shadow of the Earth, and for 76 minutes the only light hitting the Moon will be the reddish glow from Earth's sunrise and sunset, resulting in a total lunar eclipse. The totality begins at 4:51 a.m.  with the point of the greatest eclipse occurring at 5:29 a.m..  Astronomical Twilight begins at 5:51 a.m., thus the sky glow emerges above the eastern horizon.  This will diminish some of the redness of the totality on the moon, as well as low above the horizon..  The eclipse’s total phase will last for 76 minutes, ends at 6:07 a.m.. The Moon will be just 20 degrees above the eastern horizon at the instant of the greatest eclipse. Finally, the partial eclipse ends at 7:11a.m.  The sunrise from the east is at 7:33 a.m. followed by moonset in the west at 7:37 a.m. 

Unlike solar eclipses in which the Sun's rays can damage the eyes, lunar eclipses are safe to watch with the naked eye. Lunar eclipses are unique in that no one can predict what color the Moon will turn during totality. Binoculars and telescopes will enhance the view.

The combination of a perigee full moon (or super moon), a blue moon, and a total lunar eclipse is indeed a rarity: the last one occurred December 30, 1982 – not visible in North America.  For observers in Pacific Northwest, it is the first time all three of these phenomena will line up since March 31, 1866.

Information courtesy of Jim Todd - OMSI