Early risers in Sofia on January 21 2019 could be able to see a total lunar eclipse – depending on how the weather on that winter morning turns out.
The total lunar eclipse will happen as the moon passes through the northern part of the Earth’s shadow.
In Sofia, the eclipse will last for about three hours and 22 minutes, beginning at 4.36am, peaking at 7.12am and ending at 7.58am.
As at the early afternoon of January 18, the weather forecast for the time between 7am and 8am on January 21 in Sofia is for zero degrees Celsius, with only a very small chance of rain or snow. However, the forecast is for partly cloudy weather, which could put the show at risk.
A total lunar eclipse is also known as a Blood Moon, as the moon turns red.
The January 21 total lunar eclipse will be visible in most of Europe, North and South America, and western Africa.
The moon on January 21 also will be a “Super Moon”.
A Super Moon, when the moon appears to be larger than usual, happens when a new or full moon occurs with the moon at or near, within 90 per cent of, its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.
In other words, a Super Moon happens when the moon is at its perigree, a point 90 per cent or closer to its closest approach to Earth. Or, if you prefer, a time when the moon and the Earth are less than 361 863km apart.
The full moon Super Moons in 2019 include that on January 21 (357 715km), another on February 19 (356 846km) and on March 21 (360 772km).
It will be some years before another total lunar eclipse is visible from Sofia, but something spectacular is on its way, and should (summer weather permitting) be visible from Bulgaria: June 10 2021’s total solar eclipse.
(Photo: US Air Force photo/Osakabe Yasuo)