EVERETT — What sounds like the name of a low-budget vampire movie is coming to the big screen in the sky.
The “super blood wolf moon” is slated to razzle-dazzle the heavens above several continents Sunday night during a total lunar eclipse.
But it might be a cosmic dud for viewers in Western Washington.
Clouds can totally ruin an eclipse, even when the moon is a supermoon that’s the color of a pomegranate.
“The forecast is sort of dismal,” said Mark Folkerts, president of Everett Astronomical Society.
It’s still worth trying to get a look, he said. A parting of clouds will offer a glimpse.
“For about an hour it will be in totality,” Folkerts said.
The eclipse kicks off at 7:33 p.m. and ends at 10:50 p.m, according to TimeAndDate.com. The totality part of the show will be from 8:41 p.m. until 9:43 p.m.
Quick science lesson: A lunar eclipse is when the Earth passes between the moon and sun. A solar eclipse is when the moon is between the Earth and sun, as in the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017 when everybody wore those funky glasses. Eye protection is not needed to view a lunar eclipse.
A partial lunar eclipse is when the moon is partly covered by Earth’s shadow. If only the outer part of Earth’s shadow covers the moon, a penumbral lunar eclipse takes place.
For a total eclipse, which happens about every two and a half years, the moon and the sun are perfectly aligned on the exact opposite sides of the Earth. The atmosphere bends sunlight and indirectly lights up the moon’s surface in a reddish hue. It’s the same phenomena that creates those stunning colors of sunrises and sunsets.
Adding to the celestial jackpot is the fact that Sunday’s moon is not only full, it’s also a supermoon.
It’s called a supermoon because of its orbit nearer the Earth than usual, making it appear larger, Folkerts said.
It’s not called a wolf moon because this red hot wonder is worth howling over.
Wolf is the nickname for the first full moon in January. In February, it’s the snow moon, March is a worm moon, April a pink moon. June is a strawberry moon. The infrequent occurrence of two full moons in one month is sometimes called a blue moon, hence the saying. Handy to know for bar trivia and road trips.
Sunday’s “super blood wolf moon” can be seen across North America and South America, and partially visible in Europe and Africa.
“The good thing about this one is the time of the evening,” said astronomy club member Ron Tam. “It is better for people. One I saw started at 2 in the morning.”
For Sunday’s event (or non-event), no telescope is needed, shall the clouds decide to part.
A pair of binoculars should do the trick if the naked eye isn’t satisfying enough.
For a good photo, Folkerts suggests finding a target as a silhouette for the moon. For example, getting the Space Needle in the same frame to add interest.
It helps to have somewhat of a telephoto lens and a tripod, he said. On a cellphone picture, it might look more like a red dot or red swirl.
Sunday’s supermoon is part of a trilogy, followed by two more full moons on Feb. 19 and March 21 — aka a snow moon and a worm moon. But you already knew that.