Spectators around the world can expect to see a trio of celestial events intertwine to create a spectacular total lunar eclipse in the coming days.
The first full moon of the year is known as the Wolf Moon.
When the Earth’s shadow completely blankets the moon, this causes its surface to turn red as it enters the planet’s shade, known as a Blood Moon.
‘This one is particularly good,’ said Rice University astrophysicist Patrick Hartigan.
‘It not only is a supermoon and it’s a total eclipse, but the total eclipse also lasts pretty long.
‘It’s about an hour.’
The moon will also be slightly closer to the Earth, causing it to appear brighter than usual, dubbed a Super Moon.
These unique factors, when combined, result in a ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’.
The eclipse should be visible in North and South America, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal and the French and Spanish coasts.
In the U.S., the eclipse will begin relatively early Sunday evening, making it easier for children to stay up and enjoy the show.
Plus the next day is a federal holiday, with most schools closed.
But the weather forecast for much of the U.S. doesn’t look good.
Parents ‘can keep their kids up maybe a little bit later,’ said, Hartigan, who will catch the lunar extravaganza from Houston.
‘It’s just a wonderful thing for the whole family to see because it’s fairly rare to have all these things kind of come together at the same time.’
The rest of Europe, as well as Africa, will be able to see a partial view of the eclipse, while Asia, Australia and New Zealand will miss the spectacle.
This will be the last time that sky watchers in the UK will be able to experience a total lunar eclipse until 2029.
The whole eclipse starts Sunday night or early Monday, depending on location , and will take about three hours.
It begins with the partial phase around 10:34 p.m. EST Sunday.
That’s when Earth’s shadow will begin to nip at the moon. Totality – when Earth’s shadow completely blankets the moon – will last 62 minutes, beginning at 11:41 p.m. EST Sunday.
If the skies are clear, the entire eclipse will be visible in North and South America, as well as Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal and the French and Spanish coasts.
Spectators can expect the Moon to begin to darken slowly before turning red as it becomes completely caught in Earth’s shade.
Dr Mark Birkinshaw, a professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Bristol, told MailOnline that the phenomenon is the same reason the sun appears a dark shade of red when it sits low in the sky.
‘The light that passes through the Earth’s atmosphere hits the Moon and then gets reflected back to us, and it will be red,’ he said The entire eclipse lasts for more than five hours, ending at 7:48 am.
The peak of the eclipse will occur at approximately 5:12am GMT for viewers in the UK.
The total eclipse is set to last just over an hour, with the partial eclipse visible for almost four hours.
Mathematically, the longest a lunar eclipse could ever last one hour and 47 minutes.
This is the period of totality, where the moon lies entirely in the Earth’s full shadow, known as its umbra, causing it to appear red.
North America is in the best position to view a total lunar eclipse for years.
It will pass over the continent late on Sunday night, just before the stroke of midnight.
WHAT IS A LUNAR ECLIPSE?
An eclipse occurs any time a planet or moon passes between another planet, moon or the sun.
Depending on their orbits, they can be total or partial.
A lunar eclipse is a specific event which happens when Earth lines up directly between the sun and the moon.
When this happens, Earth blocks the light from the sun to the moon. Earth’s shadow then falls on the moon.
During a lunar eclipse, we can see Earth’s shadow on the moon.
They can last for several hours, but it is rare for a period of total eclipse to last longer than 100 minutes.
At least two lunar eclipses happen every year.
In January, the full moon is also sometimes known as the wolf moon or great spirit moon.
In the UK, the Moon will be above the horizon throughout the eclipse, although from southeast the sun will have risen as it comes to an end.
No equipment is needed to view the event, with the naked eye more than enough to watch the impressive celestial event.
Unlike a solar eclipse, where the moon crosses the path of the sun, it is perfectly safe to look directly at the lunar eclipse.
Americans will be able to watch the start of the eclipse on Sunday evening.
In the Eastern US, the Moon will be even higher, from south Florida it will be almost directly overhead at mid-totality and from New York at mid-eclipse the Moon will be 70-degrees high.
The UK falls slightly outside of the ideal viewing range, meaning people will have to stay up late or wake up very early to see it.
Some parts of the very edge of western Africa will be able to catch a glimpse of the event, while the rest of Europa and Asia will only get to see a partial eclipse towards the end.
HOW TO TAKE A PICTURES OF THE MOON ON ANDROID HANDSETS
Android users have similar options available to them as those on iOS, with a choice between the built in camera app and third party software.
Here’s a step by step-guide for the two methods:
Taking a picture of the moon on Android’s in-built camera:
Each version of Android may be slightly different, as the operating system can be customised by individual handset manufacturers, so instructions may vary.
1 – Turn off the flash in the camera app. The flash will only light up nearby objects and bounce light back into the lens, which could ruin your shot.
Tap the flash icon on the side or top of the screen and make sure to select the lightning bolt in a circle with a line going through it – depicting the flash as ‘off’
2 – You’ll need to zoom in for the best results. If you need to make the moon more prominent in your image, touch the screen using two fingers and use the spread gesture to zoom in or the pinch gesture to zoom out. However, this will reduce the quality of your image, so it is not advisable to overdo it.
3 – Many Android phones have a manual mode to drill-down and customise the camera settings. Open the camera app and then tap the three vertical lines icon in the top left corner, then tap manual.
4 – On the left hand-side of the camera interface, you will see a JPG icon.
Tap on it and it will switch to RAW JPG. This will allow corrections to be made to the image while keeping a high-quality image after it has been taken.
5 – Change the Exposure Value by tapping the EV option on screen and selecting a low exposure.
6 – Select the ISO option and choose a value of between 80 and 100.
7 – Increase the shutter speed, using the S option on screen, and choose the longest option. This will keep the shutter open for longer, so ensuring the camera is still while the photo is being taken is crucial .
8 – Once you’re happy with the way your image appears on the screen, click the circular capture button at the bottom of the app.
Using a third-party app to enhance your image:
1 – Go to the Google Play and download a relevant app. Adobe’s Lightroom app, which is available for iPhone, lets you enhance photos once they have been taken and get the most out of your Android’s camera.
2 – Open the Lightroom App and click on the camera icon in the bottom right hand corner, if you want to use its inbuilt camera. Alternatively, jump to step 7 to alter images taken with the inbuilt Android app.
3 – Make sure sure the File Format is set to DNG rather than JPG. This is an uncompressed raw format, similar to those used by professional photographers, which captures far greater detail.
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