Lunar Eclipse January 2019
This Sunday night, January 20, 2019 our area will be able to see a full Eclipse of the January full Moon.
If you like the Farmer's Almanac names of our Moon, then this will be the "Super Blood Wolf Moon" and will be the last combination of those three astronomical events for 18 years. ("Super" indicates that the Moon is closest to Earth in it's orbit (and technically this makes it appear larger in the sky, but that effect is very minimal and not typically something we humans can actually notice), "Blood" indicates the Eclipse, and "Wolf" indicates that this is the first full Moon of the calendar year.)
Total duration of the entire eclipse should be just over 5 hours with the Moon entering the Earth's shadow (called the Penumbra) starting here at 8:36 PM CST Sunday night and exiting the Penumbra at 1:48 AM on Monday morning.
Full Eclipse, in our area, should start at 10:41 PM CST and last until 11:43 PM with the maximum Eclipse occurring at 11:12 PM CST.
The weather forecast says it will be clear, with accuweather.com giving us a "Good for Stargazing" rating. That being said, it will be very cold (for us) with a low of 26 degrees and and a "Real Feel" as low as 18 degrees - so please dress warm if you go out. The Moon should be very high in the sky for the Eclipse.
A nice thing about a Lunar Eclipse is that it does not take any special equipment to view it - you can just look up and enjoy it. Also, if you want to photograph it, it does not take a lot of specialized tracking mounts or long-exposure photography techniques. If you have one, then a lens of probably 200mm or longer (on a tripod) will be best, but don't let that stop you from just pointing your phone up and snapping a shot. If you do want a closer view, a simple pair of $30 binoculars works great. We typically recommend 10x50 as a "maximum" power for hand-held binoculars (much higher power and it becomes difficult to hold steady without a tripod.)
Since this is occurring later at night, we haven't put together a "formal" outreach event for this Eclipse, but a few of us will be setting up telescopes, cameras, and binoculars out in the grassy mall on the PCCUA campus between the Science, Library, Nursing, and Bonner Center (Bookstore/Cafeteria. ) We would be happy to see you come out for a look and chat if you'd like. We plan to have a supply of coffee and hot cocoa. We'll probably be there setting up around 8-8:30 or so and will probably start breaking down shortly after maximum totality occurs. Dress warm and bring a lawn chair if you want. On the map below we'll be where the Blue "Pin" has been dropped.