During the early hours of Monday morning (21st January 2019) there will be a total lunar eclipse also known as a “Blood Moon”. This celestial phenomenon will not be visible again until 2022 so you better get your alarm clocks set if you want a chance to see it!
From galaxies to planets and comets and asteroids, there is lots to be seen in space and many of these spectacles can be seen from Earth without much equipment. However we should never forget about our own satellite, the Moon, which has accompanied us for several thousand years. Sometimes the most beautiful spectacles are those that are nearest to us. In the early hours of Monday morning our satellite will pass through Earth’s shadow and darken for a few moments an become illuminated by a deep red colour.
Set the alarm
You better set your alarms as Monday morning is your last chance to see a Blood Moon until May 2022. In the UK the lunar eclipse will begin as the moon enters into the Earth’s shadow at 2.30 am and will continue it’s the lunar eclipse until 7.48 am. However the optimal viewing time to see the eclipse will be between 4:41 am – 5:43 am. Wherever you are, it will probably mean you’ll have to set your alarm a little earlier than usual if you’d like to spot it. (You’ll obviously be hoping for a cloudless night!) Now you know when to see it, perhaps you’d like to know what a “Blood Moon” is exactly?
The Moon is at it’s closest point to Earth
A “super moon” happens between four to six times per year. It is when the Moon is at it’s closest point to Earth. (This is because the Moon’s orbit around our planet is slightly elliptical.) In the early hours of Monday morning the distance that separates the Earth from the Moon will be about 357, 340 km. As a result our Moon will appear almost 15% bigger than normal.
However the Moon won’t be as bright this time round. During the early hours of Monday morning our planet will become placed in between the Moon and the Sun. It is called a Blood Moon as the eclipse, (which will be the only eclipse of the Moon in 2019), will dull the Moon’s brightness giving it an orange hue. This phenomenon will be visible in North America, Central America, South America and Western Europe.
Recently there has been a lot of news about our Moon. Especially since China has landed the first rover on the far side of the Moon. The historical rover has also started to grow the first grain of cotton on the Moon as confirmed by the Chinese Space Administration. If successful this would be an unprecedented achievement which could lead to creating a long-term terrestrial biosphere in the centre of a permanent Moon station.