Lunar eclipse 2020 is occurring tomorrow, January 10. This coincides the first full Moon of this year, dubbed as “Wolf Moon”. NASA has explained what the Wolf Moon term means, also called Ice Moon or the Moon after Yule, Shakambhari Purnima, Paush Purnima, and Duruthu Poya. The latest eclipse is also the first of the four penumbral lunar eclipses (called chandra grahan in Hindi) that will occur this year. It will be visible in India and countries across Africa, Asia, and Europe. However, people in the US won’t be able to watch the celestial activity live.
We here list five facts you should know before you’re set to enjoy watching the lunar eclipse 2020 that will come along the penumbral Wolf Moon.
1. Why is it called Wolf Moon? NASA explains
NASA’s Gordon Johnston has highlighted that the Maine Farmer’s Almanac included the reference of the Wolf Moon in the 1930s. According to the almanac, the Algonquin tribes of what is now the northern and eastern United States called the full Moon in January or the first full Moon of winter the Wolf Moon. This has been referred to from the packs of wolves that howled hungrily outside the villages amid the cold and deep snows of winter. As per the Hindu calendar, the full Moon is Shakambhari Purnima, which is the last day of the eight-day Shakambari Navratri holiday that celebrates the goddess Shakambhari. Bathing in the holy waters of India is considered as important for Shakambari Navratri. Buddhists of Sri Lanka also commemorates the day as Duruthu Poya, which is in celebration of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka.
2. Lunar eclipse 2020 won’t be visible for those in the US
As per the information provided by NASA, the Moon will spend about four hours in the partial shadow of Earth as it passes opposite the Sun. The development is believed to occur while the Moon will be below the horizon for those in the US. “If you happen to find yourself on the opposite side of Earth, the slight and gradual dimming of the Moon should be barely noticeable (if at all),” the space agency mentioned in a note.
3. Lunar eclipse 2020 to be visible from several places
The lunar eclipse 2020 will be visible from various places across the globe that majorly include India as well as countries across Africa, Asia, and Europe. According to Time and Date, the lunar eclipse will appear in India from 10:37pm IST on January 10 to 2:42am IST on January 11. Although the eclipse or the Wolf Moon effect isn’t likely to be visible in most of the US, some online sources will provide its live stream to people across the globe. YouTube channel Cosmosapiens will start its lunar eclipse 2020 live stream at 10:30pm IST on January 10. Similarly, space-focussed website Slooh.com will also live stream the event along with commentary by a team of experts discussing various aspects of the development. Viewers will also be provided with the option to capture their own photos of the eclipse using Slooh’s Starshare camera.
4. Safe to watch with the naked eye
Unlike solar eclipses that require precautionary measures before watching them live, lunar eclipses are safe to watch with the naked eye. This means that if you’re planning to watch the latest lunar eclipse live, you don’t need to consider any eye protectors or special glasses. However, you’ll require a telescope to get a truly clear view of the Wolf Moon.
5. Get ready for longer days ahead
As noted by NASA, the first full Moon of this year or the lunar eclipse 2020 will make way for longer days ahead. The space agency said that for the Washington, DC, the day of the full Moon will last nine hours and 38 minutes that will grow by 53 minutes, lasting 10 hours and 31 minutes by the day of the full Moon after the forthcoming one, which will occur on February 9. “On the evening of the full Moon as evening twilight ends, the brightest planet in the sky will be Venus, appearing as the evening star in the southwest about 19 degrees above the horizon. No particularly bright star will appear near overhead. The highest bright star will be Capella, appearing about 46 degrees above the northeastern horizon (and shifting to appear nearly overhead by 4 hours later in the evening). As the month progresses the background of stars will appear to shift toward the west, while Venus will appear to shift the other direction, higher in the sky each night,” Johnston of NASA said.