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Super Blood Wolf Moon? Mark your calendars for a lunar eclipse

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini looks at when this total lunar eclipse will occur.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

You may have heard of the Super Blood Wolf Moon already and we wanted to explain what all this means to you.

Let's break it down word for word...

Super: A "supermoon" occurs when a moon becomes full around the same time it is closest to Earth during its orbit. This moon is "super" because it appears slightly larger and a little brighter than a typical full moon.

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Blood: A blood moon is another name for a lunar eclipse. A total lunar eclipse will be visible Jan. 20-21 across North and South America, so that means if skies cooperate, you will get a great view. Lunar eclipses are known as blood moons because the moon takes on a reddish tint when it passes through the Earth's shadow.,We don't get a lunar eclipse every month because the moon's orbit is at a tilt.

The reddish tint cast on the moon during a lunar eclipse has to do with the Earth’s atmosphere impacting the sunlight. The Earth is shielding the moon from most of the sun’s rays during a lunar eclipse.

The sunlight that does reach the moon is from the outer edge of the Earth. That light is passing through our atmosphere and the blue light gets scattered, but the leftover light gets bent back to the moon making it glow red. This scattering of light in our atmosphere is why the sunrise and sunsets appear reddish orange, too.

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Wolf: Each full moon is given a different name. The wolf moon is the name given to this full moon in January. These names usually come from folklore. According to the Farmer's Almanac, the wolf moon got its name because wolves would howl outside of villages when they were hungry.

When to watch?

The moon passes into the Earth’s outer shadow around 9:36 p.m. Jan. 20 but it will be hard to notice any changes. At 10:33 p.m., the partial lunar eclipse will begin as the moon passes into the Earth’s inner shadow (umbra), and at this point it will start to dim and become red.

The total lunar eclipse begins around 11:41 p.m., and at this point it will have a reddish tint. Around 12:12 a.m. Jan. 21, the greatest eclipse will occur. The moon will go back to a normal color around 1:50 a.m. and the eclipse will be completely over by 2:48 a.m.

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Since you are looking at the moon in the night sky and not the sun, the brightness won't damage your eyes. No safety glasses are needed to watch a lunar eclipse.

Stick with your Storm Center 7 team for the latest cloud forecast leading into the event.