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Just wondering so I can see it because I don't know if it is happening this month or not?

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    $\begingroup$ Apparently a "wolf moon" is, by definition, a full moon in January. A "blood moon" is just a fanciful name for a total lunar eclipse, which can only happen during a full moon. So a lunar eclipse in January -- as in the one happening on January 20th, 2019 -- is automatically a "blood wolf moon". $\endgroup$ – Peter Erwin Jan 17 at 21:23
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    $\begingroup$ And, since the moon will be near perigee during the eclipse, and thus a bit closer and larger in the sky, it's a "supermoon", too. $\endgroup$ – Peter Erwin Jan 17 at 21:35
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    $\begingroup$ What is really happening is a lunar eclipse, from a scientific perspective. The other things, "blood", "wolf", "super", and other terms inspired from the language of fantasy books for teenagers are the way media and bloggers like to talk about it. $\endgroup$ – Florin Andrei Jan 18 at 1:12
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    $\begingroup$ @FlorinAndrei the terms "wolf," "harvest," "blue," and many others are far older than books for teenagers. Granted they're still just colloquial names for full moons at certain times of the year or under certain calendar conditions. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jan 18 at 18:31
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    $\begingroup$ Someone has flagged this for closure as "unclear" but it seems abundantly clear to me, and @PeterErwin's comments could easily be expanded into a short but useful answer. Let's not be too precious here. Science doesn't exist in a vacuum - we rely on media, pop descriptions etc to ensure the popularity of science and hence continued funding for courses, programs, new astronomical facilities, etc. If this question helps excite interest in astronomy, it's a valuable one! $\endgroup$ – Chappo Jan 19 at 0:40
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On January 20th, 2019, there will be a total eclipse of the moon. Since Rayleigh scattering of sunlight passing through the earth's atmosphere and then hitting the moon during a total lunar eclipse makes the moon look reddish, total lunar eclipses are sometimes given the (portentous and slightly silly) name of "blood moon". (This seems to be the result of vague New Testament references to lunar eclipses being promoted by a couple of apocalyptic fundamentalists in the last decade; see here for more.)

In addition, there are various folk traditions which give special names to the (first) full moon in each month; it's apparently an old Anglo-Saxon tradition to call the first full moon in January the "Wolf Moon". Since total lunar eclipses necessarily happen during full moons, you could thus (somewhat) legitimately call this a "blood wolf moon". (Some discussion of other "full moon names", including the "harvest moon", can be found here.)

Finally, there is a recent trend of referring to a full moon that happens near to lunar perigee (when the moon makes its closest approach to the earth and appears somewhat larger in the sky) as a "super moon"; this term was apparently coined by the astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979. This sort of thing happens three or four times a year.

So you could call the upcoming lunar eclipse on January 20th a "blood wolf super moon" (or "super blood wolf moon", or whatever), if you really wanted to....

(Personally, I don't think that's nearly enough in the way of unnecessary and portentous adjectives. I'm holding out for "blood wolf demon vampire super extreme power moon".)

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  • $\begingroup$ This site shows that the entire eclipse (partial and total) will be visible from all of Northern, Western and Central Europe, Western Africa and all the Americas, but Hawaii might miss a bit of the partial phase. The Moon enters the penumbra on 21 Jan at 02:36:29 UTC; the partial eclipse starts at 03:33:54 UTC and the full eclipse starts at 04:41:17 UTC, reaching maximum eclipse at 05:12:14 UTC. Due to time zones, it will start on Jan 20th in North America. Alas, most of the world's population (i.e. Asia and India) will miss it. $\endgroup$ – Chappo Jan 19 at 23:35

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