A 'super blood wolf moon eclipse' is happening this weekend

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Viewed from the US east coast the moon will enter Earth's umbra just a few minutes after 10:30 P.M., with the full lunar disk falling wholly into shadow for slightly over an hour, beginning at 11:41 P.M.

According to Astronomy Ireland, the total part of the eclipse runs for 62 minutes from 4:41am to 5:43am on Monday morning, when the Moon will be high in the West as seen from all of Ireland.

A supermoon is a full moon occurring at perigee, the moon's closest point to Earth in its orbit.

Comprehensively dubbed the Super Blood Wolf Moon, Sunday's eclipse is a rare trifecta of awesome astronomical phenomenon and not, as some might think, the title to an '80s power metal album or the final boss of your Dungeons & Dragons quest.

"The peak of the total lunar eclipse will happen shortly after day's end on Sunday, Jan. 20, on the USA east coast, at 12:16 a.m. EST (0516 GMT) on Monday, Jan. 21", according to the experts at Space.com, "This peak is also known as the "greatest eclipse" and is defined as the moment when the moon comes closest to the axis of Earth's shadow". Rather, it takes on a reddish glow from refracted light as the heavenly bodies move into position - hence the "blood moon" moniker.

It's hard to predict the exact hue of lunar eclipses, but whatever shade results can offer insight about the chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere.

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The total phase of the eclipse will be visible from the Western Hemisphere, Europe and the western part of Africa, as well as the northernmost portions of Russian Federation.

The arctic air mass headed to the Carolinas Sunday night will cause temperatures to drop 20 degrees in six hours - from the 50s to the 30s - but there is an upside, says the National Weather Service. A "wolf moon" is simply the folk name for a moon that happens in the month of January. People on the East Coast of the United States will have the best view of the eclipse.

Here's what you need to know about the Super Blood Wolf Moon if you want to check out the eclipse this weekend.

For thousands of years the beauty and mystery surrounding this disappearing moon act has fascinated cultures around the world, and even today it still amazes. The Virtual Telescope Project will begin its airing at 10:30 p.m. ET. Pacific Standard Time, reach totality between 8:41 and 9:44 p.m. and be over by 11:48 p.m.

The red effect is due to Earth's atmosphere.

So, to recap: The moon will be closer to Earth than usual (a "super moon").

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