By Emily Akins
Macon Community News

Overnight on January 20th, 2019, a rare lunar event will take place, and Maconites will have a prime view. This event combines three lunar marvels: a supermoon, a blood moon, and a total lunar eclipse during the first full moon of January.

A supermoon is known as a “perigee moon” in the astrological community. Perigee is the point at which the Moon is closest to the Earth in its orbit. The opposite circumstance, when the Moon is farthest from the Earth in its orbit, is the apogee. Regardless of the name, a supermoon denotes a time when our moon appears to be larger and brighter than usual. The effect is frequently awe-inspiring–and an opportunity for fantastic lunar photography.

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The August 9, 2017 partial lunar eclipse. The eclipse on January 20, 2019, will be a total eclipse which will darken the entire disk of the moon. Photo courtesy NASA.

The term “blood moon” comes from the reddish light that illuminates the Moon during a lunar eclipse when the moon enters into the Earth’s outer shadow, called the “penumbra.” This is due to the way light is refracted in Earth’s atmosphere, causing the Moon to appear to be a rusty or copper color.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are in “syzygy,” or a straight-line configuration. The Moon must also be full for a total lunar eclipse.

The total lunar eclipse of January 20 – 21st, 2019, will last just over an hour, reaching its peak at 12:16 am EST. However, the full experience will last 3 hours and 17 minutes from the moment the moon crosses into the Earth’s penumbra until it completes its journey through darkness. From 11:40 pm until 12:43 pm EST, viewers will have their best chance of seeing the blood moon moving into the full lunar eclipse.

Unlike the last lunar eclipse, which took place in July 2018, Middle Georgia residents who stay up for the event should be able to see the supermoon eclipse. The eclipse last summer wasn’t visible in the western hemisphere. The next total lunar eclipse will not happen until May 2021.

To observe this large, red Moon, choose a place with a clear view of the sky, such as a public park, like Tattnall Square Park or Coleman Hill Park. Or head over to the parking lot of the CVS on Hartley Bridge Road, which boasts a panoramic view of Macon.

So, on January 20th at 11:41 pm, break out your favorite Moon song, like Moon River, Dancing in the Moonlight, or Bad Moon Rising, and look up to witness one of the most spectacular astrological events of 2019.



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