The Next Lunar Eclipse Will Be Visible From New Jersey And You Won’t Want To Miss Out

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly behind earth and into its shadow. This can occur only when the sun, earth, and moon are exactly or very closely aligned (or, in “syzygy,” my new favorite word), with earth between the other two. Additionally, a lunar eclipse can occur only on the night of a full moon. This makes a lunar eclipse a fairly rare phenomenon.

They occur approximately twice per year, but occasionally more. However, you’ll more commonly come across a partial lunar eclipse. This is when the earth comes between the sun and moon but they are not entirely aligned, meaning that only a portion of the moon falls into earth’s shadow.

On average, a total lunar eclipse will happen a bit more frequently than twice every three years. Every three and a half years, two total lunar eclipses will happen within the same year. Every 200 years, three total lunar eclipses happen in the same year. Science aside, a total eclipse is always fun to experience, and New Jerseyans will be enjoying one on the evening of Sunday, January 20th.

This will be the first total lunar eclipse the Garden State has been treated to in three years, as more recent eclipses haven’t been visible in our part of the world. According to NASA, it will be one of the sky’s “most dazzling shows,” as the moon will be at its closest point to earth, making the moon appear a bit bigger and significantly brighter, an event that is often referred to as a “supermoon.”

But that’s not all that makes this total lunar eclipse special! Many are calling this a “Super Blood Wolf Moon” eclipse. Why? This full moon has been dubbed a blood moon, as you can expect a red glow on its surface, caused by the sunlight that has passed through the earth’s atmosphere. It’s also a wolf moon, which simply means that it is the first full moon of the new year. It gets its name because wolves are known to howl more during their breeding season, primarily in January and February.

A partial eclipse will begin at around 10:30 p.m. in New Jersey. The total eclipse will start around 11:40 p.m., and it will be at its maximum at 12:12 a.m. on January 21st. You’ll have until 12:43 a.m. to see the total eclipse, before it once again becomes a partial eclipse. If you want to celebrate, there will be a special Lunar Mania event at Liberty Science Center. The fun begins at 6 p.m. and continues all the way until 1 a.m.! There will be telescopes on the lawn, special planetarium shows, and more.

To learn all about the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium, click here.