January 2019 will open with quite a show thanks to a rare lunar occurrence on the night of the 20th when, ready for this, we'll see a Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse.

Let's break that down.

Wolf Moon

The full moon that occurs in January is traditionally known as the Wolf Moon.

Native Americans and medieval Europeans named January's full moon after the howling of hungry wolves lamenting the midwinter paucity of food. Other names for this month's full moon include old moon and ice moon.

So January 20th brings us the January full moon or Wolf Moon.

Super Moon

That same moon will also be a Super Moon or a full moon that coincides with the lunar orbit bringing the moon as close to the earth as its travel allows. The moons in January, February and March will all be of Super Moon status, with February's being the closest in 2019.

Blood Moon

The blood moon is a name given to a total lunar eclipse because of the deep red color the eclipse can give the moon. Scientifically,

a total lunar eclipse happens when the Moon travels through the Earth's umbra and blocks all direct sunlight from illuminating the Moon's surface. However, some sunlight still reaches the lunar surface indirectly, via the Earth's atmosphere, bathing the Moon in a reddish, yellow, or orange glow.

 

The Timing of the Super Wolf Blood Moon Eclipse

The Indianapolis Star contacted Brian Murphy who works at the Holcomb Planetarium in Indy. He provides the timing:

Starting at 9:36 p.m. on Jan. 20, viewers will notice a "little notch is sort of taken out of the moon," Murphy said.

"The moon starts to enter into the earth's shadow in a portion called the umbra, when the sun is totally blocked out," he said. "Earth is moving from right to left through the shadow."

At 10:33 p.m., it moves into a partial eclipse, and starting at 11:41 p.m., the full eclipse begins, with a maximum eclipse at 12:12 a.m.

"You'll notice the stars are much more visible because the moon is less than 100th the amount of brightness," Murphy said.

The moon will appear to be a "reddish copper color," Murphy explained, hence the name blood moon. Some sunlight reaches the earth's atmosphere, which envelops the moon and gives it the rich color. The full eclipse ends at 12:43 a.m.

There is no special equipment or cautions needed to look at this lunar eclipse, just a hope for clear skies and away from street lights.