SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The moon will appear to change color as it takes to the skies later this month. That’s because of a total lunar eclipse that is expected on January 20.
It will be visible across the entire North American continent, including right here in South Mississippi.
Here’s a rough timeline of what you may see in our skies that night if weather cooperates:
- The full moon will rise around 5:00 P.M. and it will look just like any other full moon.
- The partial eclipse begins at 9:34 P.M. That’s when the moon will begin to become darker as it disappears little by little behind earth’s shadow.
- Once it’s fully inside of earth’s shadow, the total lunar eclipse will begin at 10:41 P.M. This is when the moon will appear to gradually change color from dark gray to more of a copper red. This is because the moon is being lit by the dim reddish light from all of earth’s sunrises and sunsets that peek around the edges of our planet and shine dimly onto the moon’s surface.
- The moment of greatest eclipse is expected at 11:12 P.M. as that is when the moon will be deepest behind earth’s shadow.
- After that, the moon will appear to gradually lose its reddish hue as the total lunar eclipse ends at 11:43 P.M. and then the moon will grow brighter and larger as the partial eclipse ends at 12:51 A.M. on January 21.
- The moon will appear like a normal full moon for the rest of the overnight hours. The moon will set at 7:14 A.M.
The moon’s apparent color change will be caused by the scattering of sunlight through Earth’s atmosphere, the same effect that gives our sunrises their reddish hue.
And it’s what leads some to call the event a “Blood Moon.”
If weather permits, it should be a nice and rare view of a Blood Moon for us, even better than last year’s lunar eclipse since the moon won’t be setting at all during the entire event!