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'Super wolf blood moon' (or total lunar eclipse) seen over Arizona skies on Sunday

The July 2018 Lunar Eclipse
Posted at 2:42 PM, Jan 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-21 00:46:42-05

PHOENIX — It is an astronomical trifecta -- the sun, moon and Earth will align on Sunday for the year's first -- and only -- total lunar eclipse, also being referred to as the "super wolf blood moon." It is a rare event and we're told it will be quite the sight to see. Better yet, you do not need any extra special equipment to see it -- just your eyes.

The clouds look to stick around through Sunday evening which will limit visibility for the total lunar eclipse. Hopefully there will be some breaks in the clouds or they will be thing enough that you can still see the red-orange color of the moon as it passes through the Earth's shadow. Here is what you need to know, where to look and when to not miss this extraterrestrial event.

WHAT IS A TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE AND WHAT AM I GOING TO SEE?

During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth is positioned between the sun and the moon, which casts a shadow over the moon making it appear orange or red, like blood.

The moon will also appear much larger and brighter in the sky -- known as a "supermoon" -- because the moon's orbit will be at its closest point to the Earth.

That is why this one is being called a "super wolf blood moon." The "wolf" part refers to a full moon in January.

WHEN CAN I SEE IT AND HOW LONG WILL THE TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE LAST?

The good news is you do not have to go far to see it! All you have to do is look out the window or step outside the house. The process will take a couple hours.

"Unlike when a comet comes over and where you have to say 'go to a dark sky, and it's between this constellation and that one, and if you look right here with a pair of binoculars you night be able to see it,' it is the moon, a full moon; it's going to be big and it's not going to matter where you are," said Travis Deyoe, a senior instructional specialist at the University of Arizona Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter.

The partial eclipse will start at 8:33 p.m. The total eclipse begins at 9:41 p.m. and should last about an hour. That is the point where the moon will have that red-orange tint. The total eclipse will end at 11:50 p.m.

If you cannot make it outside, the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter will stream the full lunar eclipse on its YouTube channel using one of its telescopes. That is embedded below.

WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER?

Right now, clouds could be over parts of Arizona, including the Valley, on Sunday night. That may impact how well the total lunar eclipse can be seen. Temperatures will be in the 50s to 60s.

DO I NEED A TELESCOPE OR BINOCULARS?

Nope! You'll be able to see it with the naked eye. No need for a telescope or binoculars, though you can use those for a clearer and closer image.