MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Sky watchers will howl with delight over Sunday night’s celestial offering.
In the early hours of Sunday, January 21, there will be a super blood wolf moon eclipse.
It’s a combination of three separate things – a super moon, a wolf moon and a lunar eclipse.
A super moon is a full moon that happens at the time of the year when the moon is closest to Earth in its orbit.
The wolf moon is just another name for the first full moon of the year, according to “The Old Farmer’s Almanac.”
And then there’s the blood moon.
It’s a lunar eclipse that causes the moon’s appearance to change as it enters Earth’s shadow, typically turning the moon a deep rusty red color.
Put those three moons together and you end up with a super blood wolf moon eclipse, and it all happens late Sunday night and early Monday morning.
This lunar trifecta will reach its peak at 12:16 a.m. on January 21 and will last about 3 hours and 17 minutes from start to finish, according to NASA.
If you want to see it, here’s what you need to know.
The moon will rise in the eastern sky at 5:11 p.m. Sunday evening. The supermoon will appear quite large especially right around and shortly after moonrise. The best viewing of the rising moon will be from the beaches as it peeks above the ocean on the distant horizon.
The lunar eclipse will begin at 10:34 p.m. Sunday night as the moon begins to pass through the earth’s shadow. A small sliver of darkening on the side of the moon will grow and turn gradually darker as more of the moon passes enters the earth’s shadow.
The lunar eclipse will reach totality at 11:41 p.m. Sunday evening and last until 12:43 a.m. Monday morning. During the time of totality - when the moon passes through core of the earth’s shadow - the moon will appear to be a very deep, rusty red color.
Unlike the solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is perfectly safe to look at and no special glasses or equipment are needed.
If you keep track of such things, this will be the last time a lunar eclipse and a super moon occur at the same time until May 2021.
If you want to be outside to witness the eclipse, be prepared for bitter cold. While clouds and rain will cover the sky during much of the day Sunday, a strong cold front will move off shore in the afternoon. Behind this front, temperatures will fall rapidly and skies will clear. Temperatures will drop from the mid 30s Sunday evening to the middle 20s Monday morning. Wind chills may be as low as the teens as the eclipse nears totality.