When is 2019 Eclipse Visible, Times, and How to Watch on Sunday

How will Sunday's lunar eclipse unfold? Here's a timeline and how to watch.

January 29, 2019
Lunar Eclipse Poster
NASA

Rate this Post: 

Average: 4.3 (134 votes)

On Sunday evening, January 20, we’ll see the finest total eclipse of 2019, visible from all of North America. How long will the eclipse last? When is the eclipse visible? Here are the times for watching the eclipse on Sunday—and how it will all unfold. This event is definitely worth observing. Kids particularly love lunar eclipses, and remember them vividly their whole lives.

When Earth passes directly between the Sun and the Moon, a lunar eclipse takes place.

lunar-eclipse-diagram_0_full_width.jpg
Image: NASA

Viewing the Eclipse: Timeline

Let’s talk about how the total lunar eclipse will unfold. (Note: Detailed times for ALL time zones in the U.S. and Canada are at the bottom of this article.)

  • The “total” eclipse lasts a little more than an hour. Start to finish, the entire eclipse lasts over three hours.
  • If it’s clear weather, you want to start observing at 10:33 PM Eastern (7:33 P.M. Pacific) when the partial “umbral” eclipse begins. This is when the full Moon first touches our planet’s umbra which is the dark cone-shaped shadow. (See diagram below.) 
  • During the next hour, the Moon goes through a weird series of shapes that are sometimes called “phases”—but these do not resemble the normal monthly lunar phases, particularly after around 11:15.
  • By 11:30 PM Eastern (8:30 PM Pacific), only one little bright spot of sunlight hits the Moon. The rest has turned orange, making the whole thing weirdly resemble Mars with its polar cap.
  • Totality begins at 11:41 Eastern (8:41 Pacific). And now the blackness that first bit into the Moon is replaced by an eerie coppery glow. That’s because all of Earth’s sunrises and sunsets now throw their ruddy light into our shadow and onto the Moon.
  • Just after midnight, at 12:12 A.M. Eastern (9:12 P.M. Pacific) is the “maximum” eclipse. This is the middle of the total eclipse.
  • At 12:43 A.M. Eastern (9:43 P.M. Pacific), the total eclipse ends. Earth’s umbra starts moving away from the Moon’s surface
  • By 1:51 A.M. Eastern (10:51 P.M. Pacific), the partial eclipse ends. Earth’s umbra completely leaves the Moon’s surface.

Note: Outside of this time-range, there is a “penumbral lunar eclipse” but it is so faint that many people won’t even notice it while it is happening. In our post, we only give the times of the moon passing through the Earth’s umbra – dark, cone-shaped shadow. See the diagram below.

geometry_of_a_lunar_eclipse.svg__full_width.png
Credit: NASA

What to Call It: Super Wolf Blood Moon?

Since we have room, let’s decide what to call it. Some of the media have labeled this a “Super Wolf Blood Moon.” The real story?

  • An astrologer in an astrology magazine first referred to an unusually close Moon as a “super moon” in 1979. Nowadays many in the media use the phrase. Science doesn’t, mainly because the term isn’t clearly defined. After all, Sunday’s Full Moon will NOT be the year’s closest or even second closest Moon. And nobody will notice any size difference between this weekend’s Moon and the typical Full Moon. As for tides, every Full Moon creates a “spring tide” that’s a few feet greater than the wimpy neap tides accompanying Quarter Moons. Adding this weekend’s closer-than-average factor will raise tides an extra inch or two. Hardly super.
  • What about Blood Moon? Well, a fully eclipsed Moon turns coppery like a penny. Blood that color would be reason to see a hematologist. But okay, they’re both “ruddy,” so we’ll let this one go.
  • And that Wolf Moon business? Well, some would like each of the year’s 12 or 13 Full Moons to have its own name. Unfortunately, only the Harvest and Hunter’s full Moons of September and October have official Moon names.

The various Native American tribes did indeed name all the Moons. The Algonquin called the January full Moon the Wolf Moon. But the Nez Perce called it the Cold Weather Moon. To the Lakota Sioux, this is the Moon of Frost in the Teepee. For the American Colonists, it’s the Yule Moon or Winter Moon coming up on Sunday. For the Taos, it’s the Man Moon. The San Juan called it the Ice Moon. To the Cheyenne this is the Hoop and Stick Game Moon. The list goes on and on.

See the Complete Guide to the January Full Moon and Total Lunar Eclipse.

lunar-eclipse-composite_0_full_width.jpg
Credit: JSC. Composite photograph created from 13 images of the lunar eclipse through its phases.

We astronomers call a close moon a “Perigean Moon.” We call the event a total lunar eclipse. We call the color “coppery.”

But the actual color varies. Some eclipse totalities turn gray. Some are brick with a yellow fringe. Some have a blue fringe.

Observe it for yourself. The color is the big unknown, and offers some much-needed suspense.

Lunar Eclipse Times for January 20–21

Atlantic Time
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 11:34 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse begins: 12:41 a.m. (January 21, 2019)
Greatest eclipse: 1:12 a.m. (January 21, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 1:43 a.m. (January 21, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 2:51 a.m. (January 21, 2019)

Eastern Time
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 10:34 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse begins: 11:41 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Greatest eclipse: 12:12 a.m. (January 21, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 12:43 a.m. (January 21, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 1:51 a.m. (January 21, 2019)

Central Time
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 9:34 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse begins: 10:41 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Greatest eclipse: 11:12 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 11:43 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 12:51 a.m. (January 21, 2019)

Mountain Time
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 8:34 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse begins: 9:41 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Greatest eclipse: 10:12 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 10:43 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 11:51 p.m. (January 20, 2019)

Pacific Time
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 7:34 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse begins: 8:41 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Greatest eclipse: 9:12 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 9:43 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 10:51 p.m. (January 20, 2019)

Alaskan Time
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 6:34 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse begins: 7:41 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Greatest eclipse: 8:12 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 8:43 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 9:51 p.m. (January 20, 2019)

Hawaiian Time
Moon partially eclipsed at moonrise: 6:07 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse begins: 6:41 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Greatest eclipse: 7:12 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 7:43 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 8:51 p.m. (January 20, 2019)

Proof We Live on a Sphere

Just for fun, here’s the definitive answer to “Flat Earth” people. As the ancient Greeks knew, the Moon goes into eclipse every time it touches the place in the sky that’s precisely opposite the Sun, where our planet’s shadow must lie. And every time, the shadow is round. The fact is, only a globe always casts a round shadow.

One who’s not thinking clearly might say, “But why can’t Earth be shaped like a disk, like a DVD? Then we’d be flat but still cast a round shadow.” But this is faulty reasoning. A DVD would cast a round shadow only when the Sun was perpendicular to it. If the sun were sideways to it, as would sometimes be true for a disk orbiting the sun, we’d then cast a straight line shadow. So here’s proof we live on a sphere—the only shape that always casts a round shadow.

Listen to my podcast on the Flat Earth if you dare!

About This Blog

Welcome to “This Week’s Amazing Sky,” the Almanac’s hub for everything stargazing and astronomy. Bob Berman, longtime and famous astronomer for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, will help bring alive the wonders of our universe. From the beautiful stars and planets to magical auroras and eclipses, he covers everything under the Sun (and Moon)! Bob, the world’s mostly widely read astronomer, also has a new weekly podcast, Astounding Universe