The Full Moon for January 2019 reaches its peak on the 21st. Traditionally, this Moon was called the Full Wolf Moon. This year, we’ll also be treated to a total lunar eclipse and a Supermoon! Read about how this Moon got its name—plus, see more Moon facts and folklore.
THE “SUPER BLOOD WOLF MOON” ECLIPSE
This year, thanks to the Moon being both a Supermoon and part of a total lunar eclipse, January’s Full Wolf Moon is being called the “Super Blood Wolf Moon.” How’s that for a name?
Total Lunar Eclipse (“Blood Moon”)
Just a few hours before the peak of the full Moon, a total lunar eclipse will be visible from all of North, Central, and South America.
The partial eclipse begins at approximately 10:33 P.M.EST (7:33 P.M.PST) on January 20.
The total eclipse begins about an hour later, at 11:41 P.M.EST (8:41 P.M.PST), and will last for approximately one hour. This is the time to look skyward!*
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes into the shadow of the Earth, which causes the usually bright full Moon to turn a dark, ominous, coppery-red (giving the eclipsed Moon the nickname ”Blood Moon”).
In addition to a total lunar eclipse, we’ll also be treated to a Supermoon.A Supermoon occurs when the Moon is both full AND reaches the point in its orbit where it’s closest to Earth. A Supermoon is ever-so-slightly larger and brighter than a typical full Moon, though the difference is negligible when viewed with the naked eye.
JULY FULL MOON NAMES
July is the month of the Full Buck Moon. At this time, a buck’s antlers are in full growth mode. This Full Moon was also known as the Thunder Moon because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.
How did the Full Moons get their names? The Full Moons have descriptive names that come from Native American tribes who used the Full Moons as a sort of calendar to keep track of the seasons. The Almanac tends to use the names of the Algonquins who were prominent along the Atlantic Coast and into the interior along the St. Lawrence River and around the Great Lakes.
This year, a total lunar eclipse will occur with the full Moon on July 27. However, this eclipse won’t be visible from the U.S. or Canada. (The next total lunar eclipse visible in North America will occur in January 2019—not too far off!) See our eclipse page for more information.
For sky watch buffs, it may be interesting to know that this is the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century. From start to finish, the event will last four hours, with the totality lasting 1 hour and 43 minutes. You’ll hear some media outlets call this event the “Blood Moon” Eclipse. This is an increasingly popular name used for a total lunar eclipse, but is not an official, scientific term. Put simply, the fully-eclipsed Moon turns a red-orange, similar to a sunset color; with less direct sunlight hitting the Moon during the eclipse, you only see the reddish wave lengths.