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Full Wolf Moon Eclipse Will Be Visible In The Sky Tonight

by : Cameron Frew on : 10 Jan 2020 11:33
Full Wolf Moon ThumbFull Wolf Moon ThumbPA Images/Pixabay

Grab your coat, a scarf and a hot cup of tea: if you gaze up into the sky tonight, you’ll see the first full moon of the year, known as a Wolf Moon. 

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Each month throughout the year, specific full moons are given an amazing range of names. As long as you’re blessed with a clear sky, the full Wolf Moon will be shining in the night sky at 19:21 (GMT) this evening, January 10.

Not only that, but we’re also being gifted with a star-gazing double-whammy: the first full Wolf Moon will also arrive with a penumbral lunar eclipse.

Full Wolf MoonFull Wolf MoonPA Images

As per IFLScience, a penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when ‘the Sun, Earth, and Moon are imperfectly aligned. More specifically, it’s seen when the Moon passes through part of Earth’s penumbra (Latin for half-shadow), obscuring some of the Sun’s light’.

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While Europe, Asia and much of Africa will be able to see the Wolf Moon, others may not be as lucky: Australia might catch a glimpse, but most of America won’t have the privilege as it’ll be daytime (if you’re in Alaska, eastern Maine, Greenland, and parts of northern and eastern Canada, you may be able to see it).

You’ll be able to see the full Wolf Moon and penumbral lunar eclipse via this live stream below: 

It’s an interesting sight, however it’s not quite as rare as a total solar eclipse: the one visible tonight will be the first of four this year, with the others gracing the sky on June 5, July 5, and November 30 (2020 is also set to have 13 full Moons instead of the usual 12, with two happening in October this year).

As for how January’s full Moon got its name, The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains: 

The full Moon for January was called the full Wolf Moon because wolves were more often heard at this time. It was traditionally thought that they howled due to hunger, but there is no evidence for this.

However, wolves do tend to howl more often during winter months, and generally howl to define territory, locate pack members, and gather for hunting. In addition, Native American cultures typically hold a lot of respect – not fear – for wolves, so this month’s Moon name should be viewed with that in mind, too.

Wolf moonWolf moonPA Images

If you’re interested in Moon-viewing, here are the names attributed to lunar sights throughout the rest of the year: in February it’s a Snow Moon, in March it’s a Worm Moon, in April it’s a Pink Moon, in May it’s a Flower Moon and in June it’s a Strawberry Moon.

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Heading into the second half of the year, in July it’s a Buck Moon, in August it’s a Sturgeon Moon, in September it’s a Full Corn Moon, in October it’s a Hunter’s Moon, in November it’s a Beaver’s Moon, and in December it’s a Cold Moon.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, Astronomy, Moon, Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, Sky, Wolf Moon

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IFLScience and 1 other
  1. IFLScience

    A “Full Wolf Moon Eclipse” Will Hit The Skies This Week

  2. The Old Farmer's Almanac

    FULL MOON FOR JANUARY 2020