The first full moon of the new year is taking place this Friday and it is a good one as it happens to coincide with an eclipse. Full moons happen every 29.5 days. This one is called the Wolf Moon, named after the wolves that howled at it out of hunger during the winter months.
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The first eclipse of the year
It can also be called Old Moon, Ice Moon and the Moon After Yule. Being the first full moon of the year, it also happens to coincide with the first eclipse of this year, the first of six expected this year.
However, before you get too excited, it should be noted that due to the fact that it is during daylight hours, it will not be visible to the U.S. and most of the Americas. Europe, Asia, Australia, and eastern Africa will have much better views but even those will be slightly limited.
This is because this particular eclipse happens to be a penumbral lunar eclipse. This means only the outer shadow will fall on the moon making it hard to discern the peak of the eclipse.
A total lunar eclipse
This is very different from a total lunar eclipse. A total lunar eclipse, also called a blood moon, sees the moon enters the Earth’s central shadow and turn reddish.
This is because at that point the only light moving to the lunar surface is being filtered by the Earth’s atmosphere. The Earth's atmosphere is well equipped to scatter blue light but not so good with red light.
Still for those in the viewing regions that may want to attempt to see it, it will take place on Friday, January 10 at 7:21 pm Universal Time, which is 2:21 pm EST and 11:21 am PST. If you are sad about missing this eclipse it should be noted that 2020 is set to have four penumbral lunar eclipses, two of which North Americans will be able to see.