Jamestown  (CSi)  Amateur Astronomer, Dr. Timothy Bratton reports that a total Lunar Eclipse will be on Sunday, January 20, 2019.

Livestream Link

How to Watch – NASA


4:55 p.m. CST (Central Standard Time): The Moon rises above our ENE horizon.  Luna will be then 99.3% illuminated, 33.28 minutes of arc in apparent diameter, and 222,521 miles distant.

5:20 p.m.: The Sun sets on Jamestown’s WSW horizon.

8:35 p.m.: The eastern (left) rim of the Moon makes contact with the Earth’s penumbra (its fainter outer shadow).  You won’t notice anything happening at this stage, but look at the Moon around 9:10 p.m., when it has burrowed far enough into the penumbra that its left edge may look grayer than usual.  By this time the Moon might appear as if faint clouds were passing over its surface.  Sky & Telescope magazine suggests viewing the Moon through (ironically enough!) sunglasses at this stage of the eclipse; they enhance the contrast between the penumbra and the still bright lunar surface.

9:33:36 p.m.: The center left of the Moon will make contact with the Earth’s darker inner shadow, the umbra.  Because the rest of the Moon is still quite bright, the umbra will appear to be a dark gray; any color contrast will become more noticeable as the Moon moves deeper into the umbra.  At this time the Moon will be 43 degrees over our city’s ESE horizon and 222,324 miles away.

10:40:48 p.m.: Totality begins as the Moon moves fully into the Earth’s umbra.  By this time the Moon will be 52.8 degrees above the ESE-SE skyline and 222,286 miles from Earth.  From the Moon’s vantagepoint, the Earth would be eclipsing the Sun; however, enough reddish sunlight would be refracted by and through our planet’s atmosphere that some rays would reach the lunar surface.  Anybody on the near side of the Moon would see every sunrise and sunrise on Earth occurring simultaneously; our world would appear to be surrounded by a red ring of fire.

Understanding Lunar Eclipse – Video from NASA

11:12:12 p.m.: This is both the mid-point and maximum of the eclipse, with the Moon 56.7 degrees over the SE horizon and 222,269 miles distant.  What color will it be?  The “wild cards” this year are any residual smoke from the California and Canadian forest fires and volcanic ash from the eruption of Mt. Aetna in Sicily and volcanoes in Indonesia.  In 1963, while living near Cleveland, Ohio, I witnessed a very dark eclipse in which the Moon seemed to disappear from the sky; Mount Agung on the island of Bali had thrown so much ash into the atmosphere that year that only a circular “hole” in the star field indicated where the Moon was hidden from view.

11:16 p.m: Full Moon occurs, with the Moon directly opposite from the hidden Sun and 222,267 miles from Earth.  This Full Moon was called the “Snow,” “Hunger,” or “Wolf” Moon by Native Americans, since stored food had run out while deep snow made it difficult to hunt.

11:43:48 p.m.: Totality ends as the Moon’s left rim moves back into the Earth’s penumbra.  The duration of totality for this eclipse was one hour and three minutes.  By now the Moon will be 59.9 degrees over the SSE horizon and 222,253 miles away.  The events of the eclipse now appear to run in reverse order.

12:00:51 a.m., Monday, January 21: The Moon, by now 60.3 degrees above the WSW-W skyline, exits entirely from the Earth’s umbra, through which it passed for 3 hours, 17 minutes, and 24 seconds.

1:49:30 a.m.: The Moon, now 60.3 degrees above the SSW horizon, moves entirely out of the Earth’s penumbra, in which it remained for five hours and 14½ minutes.

8:41:50 a.m.: The Moon sets at Jamestown along our city’s SW-WSW skyline.

3:00 p.m.: The Moon attains its third closest perigee to Earth this year, when it will be just 222,042 miles away, 33.436 minutes of arc in apparent diameter, 99.7% lit, and 21.9 degrees beneath our NNE horizon.

This will be the only lunar eclipse visible to us this year; we will not see any solar eclipses at all.  To avoid frostbite, view the Moon at critical stages of the eclipse, particularly the beginning of totality, mid-eclipse, and the end of totality.  Let’s hope that the weather cooperates for this spectacular event!


January 2018 also began with a total lunar eclipse, but that one wasn’t very favorable for local viewers.  On January 31 that year, totality did not occur until 6:52 a.m., when the Moon was only 10.6 degrees above the W-WNW horizon; mid-eclipse took place at 7:30 a.m., when Luna was merely 4.6 degrees above the WNW skyline, and it set a few minutes after that.  But this month’s event favors North America; every stage of the eclipse will be visible in the night sky!  On top of everything else, this eclipse almost coincides with the third closest lunar perigee (approach to Earth) of the year, so that this will be a so-called “Super Moon.”  I hate that hyped-up word; the Moon will be only 7% larger than usual, and the technical term is a “perigeal Full Moon.”  Nor will it be a “Blood Red Super Moon” (more hype!); the color of the eclipsed Moon can vary between yellow to black, depending upon how much smoke or volcanic ash is in our planet’s atmosphere.  Usually it’s orange or a coppery-red.