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Supermoon, total lunar eclipse coming January 20

January 4, 2018
By Bruce McClure
EarthSky.org

On January 20-21, be ready for a series of firsts. It’s the first full moon of 2019, and the first lunar eclipse of 2019. This is an eclipse-heavy year, with five eclipses, including two lunar eclipses in 2019! Plus, it’s the year’s first supermoon, meaning the moon is nearly at its closest to Earth for this month, as the eclipse takes place.

And now … a single sad last thing. This will be the last total lunar eclipse to grace Earth’s sky until May 26, 2021.

The January 20-21 total eclipse of the moon lasts for somewhat more than one hour, and is preceded and followed by a partial umbral eclipse, each time persisting for over an hour.

The whole umbral eclipse from start to finish has a duration of a little more than 3 1/3 hours, and can be viewed from North and South America, Greenland, Iceland, Europe, northern and western Africa plus the Arctic region of the globe.

In any umbral lunar eclipse, the moon always passes through Earth’s very light penumbral shadow before and after its journey through the dark umbra.
Additionally, a penumbral lunar eclipse takes place before and after the umbral lunar eclipse.

However, a penumbral lunar eclipse is so faint that many people won’t even notice it while it is happening. In our post, we only give the times of the moon passing through the Earth’s umbra – dark, cone-shaped shadow.

The worldwide map below shows where the eclipse is visible worldwide.

At the eastern/western fringes of the viewing area, you can only see the beginning or ending stages of this eclipse.

For instance, from the Middle East and eastern/southern Africa, you might glimpse the beginning of the partial eclipse low in the western sky shortly before the sun rises and the moon sets on January 21.

At the other extreme – from the temperate regions of northeastern Siberia – you may catch the final stages of the partial eclipse low in the eastern sky for a short while after the sun sets and the moon rises on January 21.

At greatest eclipse, the totally eclipsed moon will be at zenith (straight overhead) over western Cuba, where it’s around midnight local time on January 21, 2019 (or January 21 at 05:12 Universal Time). Anyone living appreciably west (left) of this spot (most of North America, Hawaii) will see the moon at greatest eclipse on the evening of January 20. On the other hand, anyone living appreciably east (right) of this spot (Europe and Africa) will see the moon at its greatest eclipse in their western sky on the morning of January 21.


Here are the eclipse times for our neck of the woods:
Mountain Time Pacific Time
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 8:34 p.m.
Total lunar eclipse begins: 9:41 p.m.
Greatest eclipse: 10:12 p.m.
Total lunar eclipse ends: 10:43 p.m.
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 11:51 p.m.
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 7:34 p.m.
Total lunar eclipse begins: 8:41 p.m.
Greatest eclipse: 9:12 p.m.
Total lunar eclipse ends: 9:43 p.m.
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 10:51 p.m.

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