Presenting to you a brief guide on Total Lunar Eclipse (Super Blood Wolf Moon):
First, Lets Break it Down
SUPER : because it appears bigger
BLOOD : because it appears red
WOLF : Indigenious people had
different cultural names for each Full Moon
OKAY, SO WHAT MAKES IT BIGGER?
During total lunar eclipse, Moon coincides with the perigee. Whats perigee? See, Moon has elliptical orbit around the earth. So at a point it is nearest to Earth. That point on Moon’s orbit is called perigee similarly it has farthest point called Apogee.
Being at the nearest point Moon appears bigger during total lunar eclipse.
WHAT IS LUNAR ECLIPSE?
Lunar eclipse occurs when earth casts a shadow on Moon. When Sun, Earth and moon are in a straight line alignment , Total lunar eclipse occurs. To be precise, Total lunar eclipse occurs only when: There Sun, Earth and Moon are in a staright line
And there is a full moon. The astronomical term for this straight line configuration is “syzgy”.
Earth casts three types of shadow on moon
Namely , 1. Umbra 2. Penumbra and 3. Antumbra
Out of this only umbra and penumbra plays role in Lunar eclipse.
During total lunar eclipse Earth totally blocks out the sunlight reaching to moons surface. Moon doesn’t have it’s own light. But instead of going completely dark it takes on a reddish glow.
WHAT TURNS THE MOON RED?
The reason why moon takes on the red colour is due to a phenomenon called RAYLEIGH SCATTERING. It is the same reason responsible for colourful skies during sunrises and sunsets. This is how Earth looks during total lunar eclipse ( from moons surface )
This red ring around the light shows either the sunrise or sunsets. The shorter wavelength, like blue or violet, scatter or spreads out more strongly. While shorter wavelengths like red and orange pass through the surface.
What happens next is : red-orange light is then bent from or refracted around the earth, hitting the moons surface when in umbra region. So when this red light hits the moon and makes it appear red. This is why it is called BLOOD MOON.
HOW CAN THIS PHENOMENON BE HELPFUL TO ASTRONOMERS?
This is a wonderful opportunity for Satellites orbiting the moon to use their temperature sensors to track how quickly the surface of moon chills while it goes in Earths shadow.
We can thus know more about the Thermal characteristics of Lunar soil.