File photo of a super full blood moon courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / darkfoxelixir

Super Blue Blood Moon On The Horizon

Stargazers across Southwestern Ontario can catch a glimpse of a lunar eclipse this week.

Backyard Astronomer Gary Boyle says a total lunar eclipse will occur Wednesday morning.

“The lunar eclipse is caused by the geometric lineup of the sun, earth, and moon. It does not occur every month because the moon has a slight tilt in its axis as it orbits around Earth,” explains Boyle. “On the 31st, we’re going to have that beautiful lineup where the moon moves into the Earth’s shadow. It’s very safe to look at and in fact, the moon turns a nice copper orange colour during totality.”

Boyle says this beautiful orange colour is why it is called a “Blood Moon.”

“Why it turns orange is that the sunlight refracts Earth, through Earth’s atmosphere, onto the moon… just like we see these beautiful red sunsets. If you’re on the moon, you’d see a beautiful orange ring around the Earth, seeing every sunrise and sunset at the same time,” he says.

Boyle says because this is the second full moon of the month, it is also called the “Blue Moon.” He says lunar eclipses are often referred to as a “Super Moon” as well, which is a term coined by an astrologer in 1979 to describe when a moon is closest to earth while full.

According to Boyle, by the time the moon is at its fullest, it will already have set here in Ontario.

“Unfortunately, here in Ontario, the beginning of the eclipse is at 6:48am and will set only about 20 minutes later. We will not see the entire show. Farther west you go towards Alberta and B.C., they will get the entire show,” says Boyle.

Boyle says the Earth sees two to three lunar eclipses per year and how much you see of the eclipse depends on where you live.

On January 21, 2019, Boyle says all of Canada will see the entire show of a lunar eclipse.