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Total eclipse of the … moon! Send us your photos

Check out last night's rare super blood wolf moon eclipse
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A rare super blood wolf moon eclipse lit up the skies across the country overnight Sunday.

A total lunar eclipse such as the one last night happens when the moon passes directly behind the earth and into its shadow. This can occur only when the sun, earth and moon are exactly or very closely aligned.

According to Space.com, the eclipse coincided with a supermoon — a full moon that occurs when the natural satellite is at or near its closest point to Earth during its elliptical orbit. Supermoons appear slightly bigger and brighter in the sky than "normal" full moons.

The "blood" part refers to the ruddy color fully eclipsed moons often assume, the result of Earth's atmosphere bending some sunlight onto the mostly dark lunar surface. Red light preferentially makes it through, because it has long wavelengths; shorter-wavelength light such as yellow and blue gets blocked and scattered by our planet's air.

And January's full moon is traditionally known as the Wolf Moon. Every month's full moon has such a folkloric moniker; for example, March's is called the Worm Moon. 

January's full moon may have gotten its name because Native Americans and/or early European colonists associated the month with increased wolf activity, especially howling.

The lunar eclipse began on Jan. 20 at 9:36 p.m., but the best time to view it was starting around 10:34 p.m., when the first phase of the eclipse took place and the moon began to get dark.

The total lunar eclipse didn't set in until 11:41 p.m., with the maximum eclipse happening 30 minutes after, at 12:12 a.m.. By 2:48 a.m. on Jan. 21, the total lunar eclipse ended.

With weather cold and clear Sunday evening, Sudburians got a great view.

Did you photograph the eclipse? Send your photos to editor@sudbury.com or post them in the comments below, and we'll include them in our photo gallery.
 




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