On January 31 st, 2018 our nearest neighbor, the Moon, will slip behind the Earth and completely hide from the Sun. No, it won’t disappear completely from view. Instead, it will gradually darken before turning a deep red momentarily. As it emerges from Earth’s shadow, the Moon will brighten again.

Because the moon is passing through the Earths’ shadow, and Earths’ shadow is responsible for the night sky, as long as the night time sky is clear where you are during the eclipse you will be able to see it! This differs from a solar eclipse, where the Moons’ shadow passes over a small patch of the Earths’ surface. For a solar eclipse, it’s all about location. For a lunar eclipse, it’s all about timing.

There are areas, however, where no eclipse will be visible. Countries in Central and Western
Africa will not see any of the eclipse. Western Europe (i.e. west of Germany and Italy) will not see any of the eclipse either.

The entire eclipse will last over 5 hours and 15 minutes. Totality will last just over one hour and 15 minutes. This gives viewers plenty of time to observe the many phases of the total lunar eclipse.

In North and Central America the eclipse will be partially visible. Depending on where you live, you will see varying amounts of the whole eclipse. For example, I live in Dallas, TX, and I should be able to see the beginning of the eclipse beginning at 4:51 am, all the way to the start of totality at 6:52 am, but not much else beyond that before the moon dips below the western horizon, and the sun rises in the East at 7:22 am.

And for crying out loud, please stop giving these events stupid names. Amateur and
professional astronomers alike don’t refer to them as “Super Deluxe Blue Moon Dire Wolf Lunar Eclipse” or whatever it is this time.

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