A Super Blood Moon is when a total lunar eclipse, also known as a Blood Moon, coincides with a Super Moon. A total lunar eclipse takes place when the Moon passes directly through the Earth’s umbra (full shadow). As the Moon has an irregular orbit, this does not happen often.
It is known as a Blood Moon due to the eerie red hue which hits the Moon’s surface.
The red colour comes from light being refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere and bending around to hit the Moon.
How intense the red colour depends on the levels of dust in the atmosphere.
The dust blocks other hues whilst allowing the red colours to pass through.
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A Super Moon is a full Moon that falls at the closest distance that the Moon is from the Earth in its elliptic orbit.
This makes the Moon appear bigger in size than usual.
It can actually appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter, hence the title of ‘Super Moon’.
When is the January total Lunar Eclipse?
The Super Blood Moon will take place in the early hours of Monday, January 21.
It will begin at 2.36am and end at 7.48am, making it five hours and 12 minutes long.
The reason the eclipse is so long is due to the Earth being about four times wider than the Moon.
This is a special event, as the next Super Blood Moon won’t be until February 11-12, 2036.
Will it be visible in the UK?
The total phase of this total lunar eclipse will be visible from North and South America, and western parts of Europe and Africa.
Central and eastern Africa, Europe, and Asia will see a partial eclipse of the Moon.
In the UK, the best time to look at the moon will be at 5.12am, when it will reach maximum eclipse.
Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are perfectly safe to look at so no eye protection needed.
Solar eclipses occur when the Moon moves between the Sun and Earth, causing the Sun’s light to be completely blocked from reaching earth.
Looking at the Sun’s rays with no protection causes damage to your eyes, specifically your retinas, which can be permanent.