This weekend, keep your eyes on the sky as there’s a stunning lunar eclipse coming our way, and you won’t get the opportunity to enjoy the view again for quite some time. This lunar eclipse is something out of the ordinary; here’s what you need to know, and how you can witness this rare and wondrous event.
On the evening of January 20, the moon will move into the Earth’s shadow. According to Vox, that means people in North and South America, as well as the northwest coast of Africa and portions of Northern Europe, will get front-row seats to a lunar eclipse. And you don’t have to worry about rushing outside to catch a few minutes of magic; the lunar eclipse is estimated to last for about an hour and two minutes.
But this moon is more than just another lunar eclipse. It’s also going to be closer to Earth than normal, so viewers can enjoy the spectacle of a “supermoon,” which looks larger and more impressive to the naked eye. There are two more supermoons expected during the course of 2019, but neither will be as close as this one, so be sure to bring a camera so you can snap some unforgettable images.
#TeachableMoment alert: Look up on the night of Jan. 20 to see a total lunar eclipse and supermoon! Find out how it all works, what to expect & how to get students engaged, here: https://t.co/G8zOqUnMo6— NASAJPL Edu (@NASAJPL_Edu) January 12, 2019
This lunar eclipse will be the first time the American continents have been able to see each stage of a lunar eclipse since 2000; another will not come around until 2058, so make sure you don’t miss out on this one. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait nearly 40 years for your next chance to see this astrological wonder.
And if you notice the moon is looking a bit red, don’t panic. The shadow cast by the Earth turns this lunar eclipse into what is known as a “blood moon.” The dark red makes for a striking visual, but it’s a totally natural phenomenon. It’s also a great chance to get some truly memorable images for your Instagram and here’s how to make sure your photos are the best they can be.
For those who want to make sure they don’t miss this rare moment in the sky, the eclipse will begin at 9:36 p.m. EST on Sunday and end around 2:48 a.m. on Monday morning. If you want an extra-red moon in your Instagram shots, aim to snap a picture between 10:33 p.m. EST and 1:50 a.m. EST. That’s when the shadow will be darkest, and the colors on the moon most striking. And if you’re looking to get a picture of the entire moon looking red during the full eclipse, the best time for photos will be between 11:41 p.m. EST on Sunday through 12:43 a.m. on Monday morning.
Maximum eclipse is due at 12:12 a.m. There will not be another supermoon until 2021, and it won’t be nearly as dramatic as this, the first of 2019.