On January 20, Idahoans and most of the nation can watch the night sky and see the moon grow larger, disappear slowly and turn red.
Call it a Super Blood Wolf Moon Total Lunar Eclipse, but don't panic, just enjoy. Dig out the stand and the telephoto lens and take a few photos. (That is, unless it snows and then builds a snowman's husband instead.)
It's all going to be a normal astronomical event worth watching over TV, says the University of Idaho Associate Professor of Astronomy and planetary science Jason Barnes. 1
Here's what the terms mean. Super Moon means the moon is closer to the ground and looks a bit bigger; Wolf Moon is the first full moon of the year; Blood Moon is the color the moon often gets during an eclipse as it passes into the dusty shadow of the Earth.
"This is not like the solar eclipse we had in 2017," Barnes said. "It was amazing. They are really rare because you have to be in the right place on Earth to be under the moon's shadow. A moonlight, on the other hand, is when the moon passes into the earth's shadow. You can see these from anywhere on Earth where you can see the moon. "
Another difference between a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse is the duration," says Barnes.
"Unlike a solar eclipse that lasts a few minutes in its entirety, a lunar eclipse will take a few hours," he said. "In this particular eclipse, the moon will be completely in the earth's shadow for about an hour. When it goes in and out, it will be partially obscured by the earth for much longer – about a couple of hours." College in Caldwell, said whether the weather cooperates with the moon's eclipse will be easy to see.
"It starts at 19:30," she said. "And it doesn't matter where you are because it will be high on the horizon."
Truksa recommends using a tripod to take good pictures with a camera, "but there are also many tips on the internet on how to take good pictures with a smartphone."
Barnes said the moon's dark red color comes from the scattering of light through the earth's atmosphere, which causes the shadow to cast a red hue over the moon.
This year should also have a "Blue" moon, but it has nothing to do with the color of the orb. There are two definitions of a blue moon. One is if a season has four full moons then the third full moon is called a Blue Moon. It will be on May 19th. The second definition for a blue moon is when a month contains two full moons. The next time it happens is October 31, 2020. Thus, the rarity creates the pun, "once in a blue moon."
Other astronomical events this year include meteor showers. You just finished Thursday. The next is due in mid-April.
The really great show – a solar eclipse – will also happen, but you'll have to travel to see it.
"There is a solar eclipse, but you have to be down in Chile to see it," Barnes said.