Total lunar eclipse meets supermoon Sunday night

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Stargazers across Northern Ireland will be in for a treat next week, as a rare form of lunar eclipse will be visible in our skies - a "Wolf Blood Super Moon".

Adding to the excitement is that this eclipse is occurring as the full moon reaches perigee - its closest it can to Earth - which is commonly referred to as a supermoon.

According to the Weather Network, the full moon will be 357,728 kilometres from Earth around midnight on Sunday, so it won't just be red, but it will also appear larger in the sky.

January's full Moon is also known as a "wolf moon", a name deriving from Native American Tribes who said wolves would howl outside villages during full moons at the beginning of the year.

"This naming of every moon caught on in the last 10 years and it's driving me insane", he said, "but a total lunar eclipse is actually very interesting to see".

When and how can you see the Super Wolf Blood Moon? The Virtual Telescope Project will begin its airing at 10:30 p.m. ET.

"Blood Moon" - the moon appears to be reddish in color during a total lunar eclipse as the sun, Earth and moon all line up.

So, to recap: The moon will be closer to Earth than usual (a "super moon"). Sadly most of New Zealand will miss out - with the eclipse being only visible in the top half of the North Island at moon set, Nasa predicts.

Depending on where you are in the country, the moon might "turn a copper-orange-reddish color", according to a January 7 article Forbes magazine.

It's hard to predict the exact hue of lunar eclipses, but whatever shade results can offer insight about the chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere. As it takes over, the moon will go dark, though the edges will be fuzzy.

In the US, the eclipse will begin relatively early Sunday evening, making it easier for children to stay up and enjoy the show. Green and blue don't make it through, scattered away by the particles in the Earth's atmosphere. But that last part is because of something much cooler: an eclipse. And the best thing is, you don't need any special equipment to watch it: just step outside, look up and find the moon.

The total eclipse will begin in the Central time zone at 10:41 p.m. and reach totality at 11:13 p.m., ending at 11:43 p.m.

Edmontonians will have the chance to view the lunar eclipse in style Sunday evening while celebrating with space-themed activities at the Telus World of Science.

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