The week begins with a total lunar eclipse. That’s good news for a Monday, right? We explain where the rare phenomenon can be seen and why the earth’s moon becomes the blood moon.

The ” lunar eclipse ” was in 2018 in German-speaking countries the top term among Google searches. Also with the “where questions” stood the Erdtrabant  with the question “where is the moon?”according to Google trends in the past year at the top. The reason for this tremendous interest was probably the ” super blood moon ” that thousands on a balmy July evening in the southeastern sky could admire.

Half a year later, on the 21st of January – in other parts of the world the night before – we can again  look forward to such a  heavenly spectacle . The best views are in Europe, in North and South America and in West Africa. Central and East Africa as well as Asia will only experience a partial lunar eclipse.

Set alarm clock! Watch the moon!

The total lunar eclipse is only for European early risers. In Germany, she is around half past five in the morning to see. Already at 04:34 clock the moon enters the core shadow of the earth, the total lasts about one hour from 05:41 clock to 06:43 clock, the maximum eclipse is at 06:12 clock. Shortly before sunrise, the moon leaves the core shadow at 07:51. If the weather cooperates, the sky phenomenon can be seen this time in the west, the earth moon will stand in the total lunar eclipse just 16 degrees above the horizon. Read more about lunar and solar eclipses: These space spectacles await us in 2019 

However, from last July we still know that getting up early is worthwhile: The sunlight is broken in the earth’s atmosphere and the short-wave blue light components are scattered so that they can not reach the moon. Only the long-wave red rays can penetrate the atmosphere and illuminate the moon so indirectly with red light. Seen from the earth, the moon does not shine as silver, but coppery red. That is why he is also called the “blood moon”. The color intensity depends mainly on how much moisture, dust or other fine particles are in the earth’s atmosphere. 

The moon is also appearing larger than usual. This optical illusion arises because the moon is particularly close to Earth at “only” 357,340 kilometers that night, and because the moon is just above the horizon – much like the sunrise or sunset – generally larger acts.

The full moon is over a mountain

Only an optical illusion: near the horizon, the moon appears particularly large

How often is a lunar eclipse visible?

About two and a half times a year, the moon roams the core shadow of the earth, causing a lunar eclipse. But not always there is a total lunar eclipse. For in a total lunar eclipse, the moon crosses the Earth’s shadow at full moon and is thereby completely in the core shadow.

In Germany, a partial lunar eclipse can be observed in the first half of the night on 16 July. However, the total solar eclipse on July 2 is only visible in South America, and an annular eclipse on December 26 is only seen in Asia.

The next total lunar eclipse on Germany will be in May 2022. However, the moon goes down during the totality and is therefore not visible. Only on December 31, 2028, there will be a complete lunar eclipse in this country again.


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