The "wolf moon" name is a Native American moniker, according to almanac.com, because of the sound of howling hungry wolves outside villages traditionally in the month of January.
But none of that makes it special. The reason for their rarity is the moon's orbit, which is tilted some 5 degrees off-kilter from Earth's orbital plane, or ecliptic; if the two were perfectly aligned, a total lunar eclipse would occur monthly, each time the moon was full.
The viewing in front of Union Station begins at 9 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The National Weather Service's outlook for Sunday night calls for cloud cover over a wide swath of the Pacific Northwest, so if you're a Seattleite, your best bet for seeing the eclipse may well be to watch it online. From Hawaii to ME, all 50 states will have a chance to see it - the most widely visible lunar eclipse in the United States since October 2014.
While binoculars are nice, people can enjoy watching the lunar eclipse with the naked eye, and - unlike during a solar eclipse - no additional protection is needed, Sullivan said. You'll notice the moon getting significantly darker.
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Apophis, or 99942 Apophis, as it is officially designated, is expected to come within just 37,600 km of Earth - a tenth of the distance between Earth and the Moon, on 13 April 2029, researchers from the Department of Celestial Mechanics at St. Petersburg State University have warned.
Once totality occurs, one of three things could happen, and there's no way to predict which it will be, Sullivan said. Rather, it takes on a reddish glow from refracted light as the heavenly bodies move into position - hence the "blood moon" moniker. It could also turn a coppery red, which Sullivan described "as the most attractive thing". Further orbital resonance reentries contain a great number (about one hundred) possible collisions between Apophis and the Earth, the most unsafe of them in 2068", the report says. Because an eclipsed moon is always full, the moon sets (or rises) at nearly the same time as the sun rises (or sets) on the opposite horizon. "A blood colored moon is created (by) ash from fires and volcanoes, . dust storms and pollution all filtering sunlight as it scatters around our world".
The entire eclipse will last more than five hours and will end at 7.48am.
So, Sullivan says, perhaps we should focus on that event, and not just on how fancy a name we can give it.