A lunar eclipse and a ‘super blood wolf moon’: how to watch this cosmic event

Click to play video: '‘Super blood wolf moon’ and lunar eclipse combine for rare event' ‘Super blood wolf moon’ and lunar eclipse combine for rare event
WATCH: Witness the amazing super blood wolf moon. – Jan 21, 2019

Skygazers are set to be treated to a total lunar eclipse this weekend, on top of a “super blood wolf moon.”

The cosmic event is the convergence of a few stellar lunar events — an eclipse coinciding with a supermoon turning an eerie blood red.

READ MORE: ‘Super blood moon eclipse’ to loom in the sky in first month of 2019

The eclipse will be visible to much of the Western Hemisphere, including Canada, the U.S., Mexico and South America on Sunday, Jan. 20, and finish early Monday, Jan. 21 (ET time).

Here’s what you need to know.

What time?

If you’re planning to watch the lunar eclipse, you may have to stay up a late.

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It begins around 9:12 p.m. ET on Jan. 20. However, you probably won’t be able to see any movement until the first phase of the eclipse, which is set to happen at 10:34 p.m. This is when the moon starts to get a little darker.

Around 11:41 p.m., the full eclipse slowly sets in and then the maximum eclipse is set to take place at 12:12 a.m. Jan. 21. The total eclipse will end at 12:44 a.m.

Unlike a solar eclipse, it’s completely safe to watch a lunar eclipse with the naked eye.

Composition illustrating the progression of the shadow of the earth on the moon during the lunar eclipse of 2015. Getty Images

Why is it called a “super blood wolf moon”?

A lunar eclipse, which only happens during full moons, takes place when the Earth lines up between the sun and the moon, blocking out the sun’s light and casting a shadow on the lunar surface.

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The supermoon portion of this event happens when the full moon is at the closest point of orbit to the Earth (called a perigee). It is around about 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than normal. That is why it appears slightly brighter and larger than a regular full moon, according to NASA.

This is the first of three supermoons in 2019, according to EarthSky. The second one takes place Feb. 19 and the third on March 21.

WATCH: Double supermoon in January a rare event

Click to play video: 'Double supermoon in January a rare event' Double supermoon in January a rare event
Double supermoon in January a rare event – Jan 2, 2018

The blood moon part happens when the bright moon creeps directly through the Earth’s shadow, causing it to turn to gold, copper or even a dark red.

The colour depends on the amount of dust and clouds in the atmosphere, NASA said on its website.

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According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the term wolf moon comes from Indigenous culture, as the moon appeared when wolves howleed in hunger outside the villages.

A so-called wolf moon rises over Glastonbury Tor on Jan. 11, 2017, in Somerset, England. Getty Images

When is the next super lunar eclipse?

Those that miss this eclipse will need to wait until May 26, 2021, for the next opportunity to witness a total lunar eclipse.

The next partial lunar eclipse will be this summer, on July 16, but will be visible only in Africa and portions of Asia.

— With files from Global News’ 

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