© 2021 Boise State Public Radio
WebHeader_3.png
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Science & Research

Super Blood Wolf Moon (Yes, It's Really Called That): Idaho Will Likely Miss Out Due To Weather

LunarEclipse_Astronomy_Moon_Night.jpg
B.K.
/
Flickr

Astronomy buffs are excited for a total lunar eclipse that will happen Sunday night. It will be the only complete eclipse of the moon this year.

This isn’t just any lunar eclipse; three phenomena are converging to make this the most heavy-metal-album-sounding eclipse possibly ever. Sky watchers are bracing for the “Super Blood Wolf Moon.”

Let’s unpack that. The “super” stems from the fact the moon is currently a little closer to Earth than usual in its elliptical orbit. The added proximity means the moon will appear a little bigger and a lot brighter.

As for why this is a “blood” moon, lunar eclipses make the big white dot in the night sky appear red. When the Earth passes directly between the sun and the moon, we get an eclipse. The Earth’s shadow doesn’t completely blot out the moon – light from the sun still shines through the atmosphere of our planet and gives the moon its reddish hue.

Rounding out the fully packed name of the eclipse, “wolf” refers to the January full moon. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, Native American tribes named each of full moons – this one referring to howling canines outside of villages.

The moon will be fully red Sunday night starting around 9:40. While the Super Blood Wolf Moon will be visible throughout the Americas, don’t count on seeing it in Idaho. Cloudy conditions are expected to linger into the early morning hours.

For more local news, follow the KBSX newsroom on Twitter @KBSX915

Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio