Total lunar eclipse, ‘super blood wolf moon’ a treat for southern Alberta skygazers

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WATCH: Sunday's total lunar eclipse will happen alongside a super blood wolf moon. As Tiffany Lizee reports, the astronomical event can be seen in southern Alberta shortly after 8:30 p.m., and marks the final lunar eclipse that anyone on earth will see until 2021 – Jan 18, 2019

A combination of astronomical events is happening all at the same time Sunday night and some in southern Alberta will have a front seat to the action.

A total lunar eclipse and super blood wolf moon are going to play out simultaneously, promising a picturesque cosmic scene for skygazers.

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

What time is the total lunar eclipse?

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

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A shadow will start to appear on the moon just after 8:30 p.m. and the maximum eclipse — where the moon is completely covered — will happen around 10:12 p.m.

The final stages will begin shortly after that with the whole astronomical event wrapping up shortly before 1 a.m. Monday morning.

According to a fun fact from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, for anyone watching the cosmic event from on the moon, they’d be seeing a solar eclipse as well.

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.

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.

Total lunar eclipse, ‘super blood wolf moon’ a treat for southern Alberta skygazers - image

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.

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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.

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

Phases of the blood moon photographed by Michael Cerilo in Winnipeg on April 15, 2014. Michael Cerilo / Global News

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.

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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’  and 

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