Get a good night’s sleep on January 19th, because come January 20th, you’re going to want to stay up all night and be a part of the cosmic party. Not only will the Full Wolf Moon reach peak fullness at 12:16 a.m. on January 21st, but we’re also going to be treated to a Supermoon and a total lunar eclipse beginning on the 20th. Are we in some sort of M. Night Shyamalan movie? Guess we’ll have to wait for the twist at the end.
Despite its harrowing name, the Super Blood Wolf Moon won’t unleash werewolves or reanimate corpses—at least to our knowledge. Let’s calm our nerves and break down the scary-sounding-but-not-actually-scary name.
Firstly, January’s full moon is called the Full Wolf Moon because it was during this time of year that hungry wolves would howl outside Native American villages. Winter has officially set in and wildlife is relying on survival instinct to make it through the yearly cold snap.
Supermoons occur when the moon is simultaneously at its peak fullness (or newness) and at perigee—the point closest to Earth within its orbit. This phenomenon causes the full moon to appear larger and brighter in the night sky.
It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between regular full moons and Supermoons with the naked eye. However, take our word for it—the Super Blood Wolf Moon will be a bit brighter and bigger than your average full moon.
And finally, the upcoming full moon is also considered a “Blood Moon” because a total lunar eclipse will be visible from North, Central, and South America and Western Europe. Those of us in this part of the world will watch the moon turn a bloody, rusty red color as the sun, Earth, and moon align and the moon enters Earth’s shadow.
This eclipse will begin at 10:33 p.m. EST on January 20th, reaching totality (when the moon is completely shadowed by Earth) at 11:41 p.m. EST. By 12:44 p.m. EST, the moon will return to its normal hue.
Total lunar eclipses happen every one to three years. Some conspiracy theorists and religion buffs claim Blood Moons can trigger natural disasters, like volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, but studies have actually found that the full and new moon do affect Earth’s tides, and therefore may have some pull on volcanic activity. In fact, around the time of last January’s Super Blood Blue Moon, the Philippines’ Mayon Volcano erupted. However, there’s not enough solid data to support the theory that Blood Moons and natural disasters go hand-in-hand.
January 20th and 21st’s Super Blood Wolf Moon is going to be a spectacle to behold. Stay tuned to see if all hell breaks loose Stephen King-style come midnight on the 20th. We’re really hoping the vampires, ghosts, and ghouls stay put, but with a name like that, we can’t be totally surprised if some paranormal stuff starts to go down.