Stargazers, get your telescopes out, a super blood wolf moon is on the horizon

08 January 2019 - 09:55 By AFP Relaxnews
A super blood wolf moon is a rare celestial occurrence.
A super blood wolf moon is a rare celestial occurrence.
Image: Robyn Beck / AFP

The year 2019 begins with some cosmic theatre, with a super blood moon eclipse set to take centre stage for large parts of the world on January 20-21.

Stargazers in North and South America and large swaths of Western Europe and Africa will want to save the date, as the celestial event will bring the sun, earth and moon into perfect alignment for a total lunar eclipse. 

This year, the full moon will also be at its closest point to the earth in its orbit, making the moon appear bigger and brighter from earth - a phenomenon known as the supermoon - and casting a reddish-orange hue on the orb for parts of the planet. 

NASA predicts that totality will occur at 9:12 pm PST January 20 (7:12am CAT) and last about one hour. 

The full experience, from the start of the eclipse to the end, will last three hours and 17 minutes. has a helpful primer on when the eclipse will reach totality across different viewing regions. 

For example, stargazers in LA will want to pull out their telescopes and turn skyward around 8:40 pm PST, while totality will strike Reykjavik, Iceland around 4:41 am. 

The next total lunar eclipse is set to occur May, 26, 2021 and will be visible for parts of North and South America and East Asia.