Weather Blog: Super Full Moon and Total Lunar Eclipse (Jan. 20-21)

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(WRDW/WAGT) -- The CSRA is in store for a rare lunar phenomenon Sunday night into early Monday morning on January 20th and 21st. A total lunar eclipse will occur and it coincides with a Super Full Moon. Now we just have to hope for clear skies!

When is the best time to see the Super Full Moon?

The full moon will rise in the eastern sky at 5:24 PM for Augusta. The first 20-30 minutes of moonrise, when the moon is low in the horizon, are moments when the “moon illusion” makes the moon appear bigger and brighter. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why the “moon illusion” occurs, but most believe it is an optical illusion created by our brain. Make sure to get a good vantage point of the eastern horizon and you are sure to be in awe by the spectacle of the rising Super Full Moon.

When is the best time to see the Total Lunar Eclipse?

A partial lunar eclipse will begin in Augusta January 20th at 10:33 PM. The partial lunar eclipse will increase to totality by 11:41 PM. The duration of the total lunar eclipse will last a whopping 1 hour 1 minute and 58 seconds! During the total lunar eclipse, the moon will glow orange. The total lunar eclipse will end by 12:43 AM January 21st for Augusta.

What is a Supermoon?

Whenever a full moon occurs during the moon’s closest approach to Earth, referred to at it’s perigee, then it is classified as a Super Full Moon. When a New moon occurs during the moon’s perigee, it is referred to as a Super New Moon. In short, a Supermoon is when the moon is closer than usual to Earth and it coincides with a new or full moon. The differing distances from Earth are due to the elliptical orbit of the Moon around Earth. Super Full Moons appear about 6% larger and 16% brighter than average full moons. Definitions vary on the exact distance the moon needs to be in relation to Earth to be classified as “super”. Most definitions agree that if the Moon is less than 223,700 miles from the center of the Earth, then it is a Supermoon. Whenever the moon is in its apogee, or farthest position away from Earth, it is roughly 251,655 miles from Earth and referred to as a Micromoon.

What is a Total Lunar Eclipse?

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon line up perfectly so that the Earth casts a shadow on the Moon. The Moon enters Earth’s shadow and completely blocks the Sun’s light from reflecting on the lunar surface. This causes the Moon to glow orange and is quite a sight to see.