A super blood wolf moon will rise on the night of Jan. 20. (NASA)

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

People all across North America and Europe will be treated to a rare celestial show in the night sky this weekend.

Albertans can look to the skies on Sunday night to see the super blood wolf moon, a phenomenon that will happen only three times in the 21st century.

But what is a super blood wolf moon?

‘Super,’ ‘blood’ and ‘wolf’ all refer to different characteristics moons can have, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre astronomer Kat Kelly explained.

A super moon happens every time a full moon hits at the closest point in the moon’s orbit, while a wolf moon refers to all January full moons. The name refers to “wolves howling out of hunger,” and comes from Indigenous cultures.

“The blood moon part is because of the lunar eclipse,” Kelly said.

When the moon passes directly in front of the Earth, our planet casts a shadow on the moon leading to an eery, red glow.

If you’re looking to catch a glimpse of the super blood wolf moon, Kelly said there’s no need to get away from street lights or light pollution because it will be very bright on its own. Binoculars can help, as can a telescope, but neither are necessary.

READ MORE: Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

The super blood wolf moon will start at 7:30 p.m., be most visible at 9:12 p.m. and fade away at 10:40 p.m.

READ MORE: China begins first surface exploration of moon’s far side


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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