Why does a ‘super blood wolf moon’ lunar eclipse have such a complicated name?

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There are literally dozens of nicknames for the moons at various times of the year—January’s full moon is known as wolf but also the ice moon or old moon, and, hell, you may as well make up your own at this point.

But here’s the thing: It’s the damn moon. It turns reddish in a blood moon because we’re dealing with a total lunar eclipse: The sun sends light through our atmosphere, scattering short wavelengths like blue while longer wavelengths like red continue to the moon.

What is the super blood wolf moon?

The term is being used because there are several lunar events happening at once. Let’s break it down:

“Super moon”
A super moon occurs when the full moon is at its closest point to Earth. This means it appears bigger and brighter than usual.

“Blood moon”
The term “blood moon” refers to the most exciting part of Sunday’s show, the total lunar eclipse. It’s called a “blood moon” because, from Earth, the moon appears blood red as it passes into Earth’s shadow. It’s not an astronomy term but has become a popular term because it’s so dramatic, according to AccuWeather and the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

“Wolf moon”
Every month has special names to describe the full moon. The names originate from Native American folklore, according to AccuWeather. The most widely used name for January’s moon is the “wolf moon.”

Say you have a super blood wolf moon, which is super because it’s closer to Earth in its elliptical orbit and a wolf because it’s a January full moon.

Now you know Why does a ‘super blood wolf moon’ lunar eclipse have such a complicated name

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