I get the odd feeling that maybe you thought this blog was inevitable especially if you’re a frequent reader of this quality writing. Plus, this blog comes at an opportune time when rain and snow are on the minds of the masses across the Tennessee Valley. Please keep in mind that if we see a bit of snow Saturday night and Sunday morning accumulations will be minimal to non-existent given the fact that temperatures will be in the low 60s on Saturday. Of course, once the cold front passes it will cool quickly, but it will take a lot to cool the surface down enough to a point where the snow can stick.
Okay enough of that, and back to the topic at hand which happens to be the total lunar eclipse which just so happens to be super.
This Sunday everyone across the continental United States as well as Alaska and Hawaii will be able to observe a total Lunar eclipse. What makes this eclipse special is that you can view the entire eclipse from start to finish coast to coast and it begins before midnight coast to coast. The last time this happened was 19 years ago. Before that we hadn’t seen this particular setup since April 1968.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, moon, and earth come into nearly perfect or perfect alignment. The three coming into alignment allows the earths shadow to be cast onto the moon. A lunar eclipse can only occur when there is a full moon.
In the Tennessee Valley penumbra will occur at 8:36 PM. Penumbra is when we can just begin to see a shadow cast on the moon. Umbra will occur 58 minutes later at 9:34 PM. Umbra is when the shadow will hit the middle of the moon. Total eclipse will occur at 10:41 PM and last until 11:43 PM. The moon will leave penumbra at 1:48 AM on Monday January 21st. All times are in central time and will need adjusted based on your time zone.
The “supermoon” phrase that has created all the hype is the result of the moon being at its closest point to earth giving off the impression that the moon is larger. On top of that there is the term “blood moon” which has also created chaos. The fact is we don’t know yet what color the moon will take on. If it takes on some sort of orange or red color, that will be the result of the suns light being refracted around the earth. This little bit of light from the sun will be just enough to allow us to see the moon during the total eclipse.
As far as the forecast is concerned we’ll get prime viewing here in the Tennessee Valley thanks to mostly clear skies, but it will be incredibly cold with temperatures in the 20s. Grab some hot chocolate, blankets, and the camera to enjoy the lunar eclipse at its finest. Of course, the kids can enjoy too since they don’t have school on Monday.