The course of the total lunar eclipse of January 21, 2019
On January 21, 2019, the moon passes through the core shadow of the earth (dark gray).
This event can be followed well from Central Europe.
At the end of the totality, the moon is about 13 degrees above the western horizon, after the complete exit from the umbra, it is only about three degrees.
When leaving the penumbra (light gray) he has already gone down with us.
Early risers can easily track the partial phases of darkness as the Moon enters the Earth’s core shadow.
In the binoculars, the striking crater Tycho with its white radiate wreath and the dark Mare areas of the moon can be well recognized.
Such striking details give us an idea of how the shadowy edge creeps slowly and inexorably across the lunar landscape during the partial phases.
Within about an hour, the initially still bright round full moon turns into a sickle, and finally only a dark red glow of his glass remains:
the totality has begun. It can now be clearly seen in the binoculars that the central area of the core shadow located to the south of the moon is
darker than its edge areas.
So, on January 21, 2019, your binoculars should be close to your bed, as the quick grip to the glass allows you to see the beautiful, dark red satellite – with little time and short gaps in the clouds.
Of course, the event is also a pleasure to the naked eye.
For the successful observation, however,
you need a clear view to the west, because at the end of the totality at 6:43 clock the moon is in this direction, only about 13 degrees above the horizon.
Soon after dawn breaks, and at 8:15 CET,
moonset and sunrise are nearly simultaneous.
These times may vary by a few minutes, depending on the location.
A lunar eclipse is only possible if full moon and earth are exactly in line with the sun.
However, the orbit of the Moon is inclined to the plane of the Earth orbit, the ecliptic, by about five degrees.
Thus, it comes only to an eclipse, when the earth moon is at full moon date at one of the two intersections with the ecliptic, the so-called node.
If he then stands behind the earth as seen from the sun, he enters the shadow of the earth.
The fact that he does not go completely out is due to the earth’s atmosphere, which mainly scatters long-wave, reddish light into the earth’s shadow. A hypothetical astronaut on the moon would then see in the sky a large black disk surrounded by a narrow reddish ring.
It is the light of all the sunrises and sunsets
that take place on Earth at this time.
Red moon and strange names
The eclipses of the moon with its seemingly uncanny dark red glow triggered in the past many superstitions, which has led in the Anglo-Saxon language area, especially in the United States, to quite curious names.
There, the totally darkened moon is sometimes referred to as the „blood moon“ because of its color.
A term that has no meaning in astronomy and is unfortunately often spread without reflection by the media.
If a full moon in the period from November to January in the sky, it has the name
* „Wolf Moon“*registered because at
this time the wolf women are fertile
Another recurring but completely irrelevant term is „super-moon“.
He refers to the fact that the full moon appears unusually large in the sky when it is particularly close to Earth on its elliptical orbit.
However, in January 2019, this effect can only be detected with measuring instruments and completely eludes the observer with the naked eye or the binoculars.
However, if in the near future something like the „super-blood-wolf-moon“ or variants of it appears in the media, then you know that on January 21, 2019, a completely normal but remarkable total lunar eclipse will take place.
And in half a year, on July 16, 2019, the full moon will at least partially reenter the Earth’s shadow.