Stargazers will witness a trifecta of special events in the New Year – a total lunar eclipse, a super blood moon, and a "Wolf Moon," a nickname for a full moon that appears in the middle of winter.
Millions of people across North and South America, as well as parts of Western Europe and Africa, will be able to experience the rare sight overnight from January 20 to 21, National Geographic said. For a few hours, the moon will give off a bright reddish glow.
"A total lunar eclipse can occur only when the sun, earth and moon are perfectly aligned – anything but perfection produces a partial lunar eclipse or no solar eclipse at all," explains Space.com.
You will not want to miss it. The Earth will not experience another total lunar eclipse that occurs when the entire Moon penetrates into the shadows of the Earth until May 2021, NASA estimates. 19659005] Here's everything you need to know about the unusual phenomenon.
When can I see the total lunar eclipse of 2019?
The total lunar eclipse of 2019 will take about 1 hour and 2 minutes, according to Space.com. It will start at 11:41. ET on January 20th and peak at 12:16 ET on January 21st.
The longest possible lunar eclipse is 1 hour and 47 minutes according to EarthSky. The longest total lunar eclipse of the last century was on 16 July 2000 and lasted for 1 hour and 46.4 minutes, according to space information.
The last total lunar eclipse took place on July 27, although it was not visible in the US
What is a "Super Blood Moon"?
A supermoon is a new or full moon that seems closer than usual because it is the shortest distance that the moon brings to Earth during its orbit. NASA says it is about 363,000 kilometers from Earth.
Supermoons usually appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than the average moon seen in the sky every night. Noah Petro, a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, told Fox News. However, it's hard to really tell the difference with the naked eye.
"That's not enough to notice, unless you're a very attentive lunar observer."
The term "blood" comes from the rust-red, brownish-red color that the moon changes during a total lunar eclipse.
"This is because some of the sunlight that passes through the Earth's atmosphere is bent around the edge of our planet and the surface of the Moon falls on it. The air of the Earth also scatters more shorter-wavelength light (in colors like green or blue) What's left is the longer-wave, redder spectrum, "explains Space.com on its website.
What is a "Wolf Moon"?
The January full moon was nicknamed "Wolfmond" – and occasionally "Old Moon" – by Native Americans for wolves who howled outside as they hunted for food in the middle of winter. 19659005] "This is an ancient practice, nothing new." Old peoples are often pursuing the seasons by following the lunar calendar (compared to today's solar calendar), "explains the almanac of the old farmers in a post online.
James Rogers and Nicole Darrah of Fox News contributed to this report.