On January 20, 2019, the Western Hemisphere will be treated to a total Lunar Eclipse. There won't be another total lunar eclipse until 2021 and this one will happen during the Super Moon.
What is a Super Moon?
As it turns out, when the Moon orbits around Earth, it does not do so in a perfect circle. It moves in a sort of wobbly stretched out circle type of shape called an elliptical orbit and can vary from221,456miles (356,400 kilometers) to252,088 miles (405,696 km). When the Moon is closer to Earth, it will seem larger, in fact it will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter at its closestthan when the Moon is at its furthest distance from Earth. A Super Moon is when a full Moon (or new Moon)happens around the same time that the Moon is closest to Earth.
What is an Eclipse?
As the Moon orbits around Earth, and Earth orbits around the Sun, there comes a time when the Moon Earth and Sun all line up in a row. This is a full Moon. Sometimes, the Moon will pass directly behind the Earth, when this happens the Earth's shadow makes the full Moon turn Dark.This is called an Eclipse. Why isn't there an eclipse every full Moon? Well because the Moon orbits Earth on a little bit of a tilt, and most of the time when the Moon Earth and Sun are in a straight line, the Moon will be a little higher or lower than Earth's shadow. The Moon does not turn black during an eclipse, instead it appears red because of the way red light bends around Earth and hits the Moon. Because it turns red it is often called a Blood Moon.
What is a Wolf Moon?
Ancient civilizations gave each Full Moon a name because all of nature revolves around the full Moon. (remember learning something about how sea turtles always lay their eggs on the first full moon of Spring?) Each civilizationused different names, but here are some of the most common names:
First Full Moon of Winter = Wolf Moon aka Old Moon, Ice Moon
Second Full Moon ofWinter = Snow Moon aka Storm Moon, Hunger Moon
Last Full Moon of Winter= Worm Moon aka Chaste Moon, Death Moon, Crust Moon, Sap Moon
First Full Moon of Spring = Pink Moon aka Egg Moon, Fish Moon
Second Full Moon ofSpring = Flower Moon aka Hare Moon, Milk Moon
Last Full Moon of Spring= Strawberry Moon aka Rose Moon, Hot Moon
First Full Moon of Summer = Buck Moon aka Thunder Moon, Hay Moon
Second Full Moon ofSummer = Sturgeon Moon aka Grain Moon, Red Moon
Last Full Moon ofSummer= Harvest Moon aka Corn Moon, Barley Moon
First Full Moon of Fall = Hunter's Moon aka Travel Moon, Dying Grass Moon
Second Full Moon of Fall = Beaver Moon aka Frost Moon
Last Full Moon of Fall = Cold Moon aka Oak Moon
There is one other famous Moon you may have heard of, the Blue Moon . Where is this Moon? Well here is an interesting quirk of nature. All of nature must work together, so flowers MUST bloom when the insects are at their greatest numbers, so the insects MUST reproduce in large numbers before the flowers appear. Also, birds that eat the insects MUST have their eggs hatched eight when all the insects appear, so there is a lot of food for their chicks. And the birds MUST fertilize the eggs a month or so before the flowers bloom so that the eggs hatch at just the right time.
In a perfect world there would be 12 full Moons each year and the animals could simply "count" how many Moons and know when they need to migrate, hibernate, look for a mate, etc. However, the world is not perfect, some years there are 13 full Moons, not 12. When there is that extra full Moon, it will fall into one of the seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall) and when it does, it is the 3rd full Moon of that season which becomes the Blue Moon. Notice how the Moons are listed above as "First", "Second" or "Last" full Moon... this way we can insert the Blue Moon as the "Third" Full Moon and not have to rename anything.
All of nature knows this, and simply "ignores" the Blue Moon when it appears.
The Super Blood Wolf Full Moon Eclipse
Now you know what all those words mean..... be ready for it. A big bright full Moon and an eclipse! If you are in the Americas the night of January 20thhope for good weather, this won't be coming around again anytime soon. Also read up on all the magic of a full Moon!