Miss the lunar eclipse overnight? Here it is in 60 seconds

Gwen Vasquez
January 22, 2019

Political commentator Rick Wilson joked that the eclipse could just as well be called the "Full Blood God Death Night Lord Wild Beast Moon".

When the full moon moved into Earth's shadow, it darkened, but did not disappear.

The forecast for Donegal tonight is for a cool dry night with clear skies, so viewing should be good.

The eclipse's name derives from three factors - it is the year's first full moon (wolf moon), the moon is at its closest distance to the Earth (super moon), and a total lunar eclipse which makes the moon appear red (blood moon). Other monikers include a "Wolf Moon", a traditional way of coining an eclipse in the month of January, and a "Blood Moon" because of its rusty, red colour.

The moon was in flawless alignment with the sun and Earth, with the moon on the opposite side of Earth from the sun. If our natural satellite goes fully into the deepest part of the shadow, the moon turns red, because the only light reaching it is red light from the edges of Earth's sphere.

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This happens because blue light undergoes stronger atmospheric scattering, so red light will be the most dominant color highlighted as sunlight passes through our atmosphere and casts it on the moon.

Once every 19 years, there's a long gap between total lunar eclipses; this occurs because of the geometry of the positions of the Earth, sun and moon.

Ireland is due to experience its most impressive lunar eclipse for the next 14 years on Monday, 21 January.

NASA estimates there will be 85 total lunar eclipses this century. The next chance for a glimpse at a lunar eclipse will be in 2022, but the entire continent won't be able to see the totality of a lunar eclipse again until 2029.

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