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Explainer: Anatomy of Sunday night's super wolf blood moon

by Blog Updates |

The phases of a total lunar eclipse.

The phases of a total lunar eclipse. NATHAN GRIFFITHS

There will only be three super wolf blood moons this century, according to Kat Kelly, an astronomer with the H.R. Macmillan Space Centre, and they may not all be visible from Vancouver. The first took place on Jan. 20, 2000, and the next one won’t be seen until Jan. 31, 2037.

Sunday’s lunar eclipse is also a super moon, an event that occurs when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit around the earth. Kelly says the moon passes through the earth’s shadow causing the red colour, which led to its blood moon moniker.

The wolf moon is a cultural reference to the full moon in January. Kelly says it likely got its name from wolves howling from hunger in winter. The super moon is the first of three this year. There will be another in February and again in March.

The total eclipse of the moon will last 62 minutes, starting at 8:41 p.m. Peak eclipse viewing is at 9:12 p.m.

Graphic shows position of earth and moon during a lunar eclipse


 Source: Vancouver Sun