January 2019 lunar eclipse

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January 2019 lunar eclipse
Total eclipse
Oria, Italy at 5:43 UTC, end of totality
Date20 January 2019
Saros cycle134 (27 of 73)
Totality61 minutes, 59 seconds
Partiality196 minutes, 45 seconds
Penumbral311 minutes, 30 seconds
Contacts (UTC)

A total lunar eclipse occurred on 21 January 2019 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). For observers in the Americas, the eclipse took place between the evening of Sunday, 20 January and the early morning hours of Monday, 21 January. For observers in Europe and Africa, the eclipse occurred during the morning of 21 January. The Moon was near its perigee on 21 January and as such can be described as a "supermoon".[1]

As this supermoon was also a wolf moon (the first full moon in a calendar year), it was referred to as a "super blood wolf moon"; blood refers to the typical red color of the Moon during a total lunar eclipse.[2] This was the last total lunar eclipse until May 2021. This was a Super Full Moon because occurred less than a day before perigee and the Moon was less than exactly 360,000 km (223,694 mi).

The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California captured video showing a meteor between the size of an acorn and tennis ball impacting the Moon during the eclipse.[3] The impact was observed during totality, at 4:41 UTC, on the left side of the Moon.[4] It is the only documented case of a lunar impact during a total lunar eclipse.[5][6]


The eclipse was visible in its entirety from North and South America, as well as portions of western Europe and northwest Africa. From locations in North America, the eclipse began during the evening hours of January 20. Observers at locations in Europe and much of Africa were able to view part of the eclipse before the Moon set in the early morning (pre-dawn) hours of January 21.

Simulated view of Earth from Moon during greatest eclipse, with infrared clouds

Visibility map


Contact points relative to Earth's umbral and penumbral shadows, here with the Moon near its descending node (left), and the hourly motion for the January 2019 lunar eclipse (right)
The timing of total lunar eclipses are determined by its contacts:[7]
  • P1 (First contact): Beginning of the penumbral eclipse. Earth's penumbra touches the Moon's outer limb.
  • U1 (Second contact): Beginning of the partial eclipse. Earth's umbra touches the Moon's outer limb.
  • U2 (Third contact): Beginning of the total eclipse. The Moon's surface is entirely within Earth's umbra.
  • Greatest eclipse: The peak stage of the total eclipse. The Moon is at its closest to the center of Earth's umbra.
  • U3 (Fourth contact): End of the total eclipse. The Moon's outer limb exits Earth's umbra.
  • U4 (Fifth contact): End of the partial eclipse. Earth's umbra leaves the Moon's surface.
  • P4 (Sixth contact): End of the penumbral eclipse. Earth's penumbra no longer makes contact with the Moon.

The penumbral phases of the eclipse changes the appearance of the Moon only slightly and is generally not noticeable.[8]

Local times of contacts
Time zone
adjustments from
Americas Atlantic European/African
-8h -7h -6h -5h -4h -3h -2h -1h 0h +1h +2h +3h
Event Evening 20 January Morning 21 January
P1 Penumbral begins* 6:37 pm 7:37 pm 8:37 pm 9:37 pm 10:37 pm 11:37 pm 12:37 am 1:37 am 2:37 am 3:37 am 4:37 am 5:37 am
U1 Partial begins 7:34 pm 8:34 pm 9:34 pm 10:34 pm 11:34 pm 12:34 am 1:34 am 2:34 am 3:34 am 4:34 am 5:34 am 6:34 am
U2 Total begins 8:41 pm 9:41 pm 10:41 pm 11:41 pm 12:41 am 1:41 am 2:41 am 3:41 am 4:41 am 5:41 am 6:41 am 7:41 am
Mid-eclipse 9:12 pm 10:12 pm 11:12 pm 12:12 am 1:12 am 2:12 am 3:12 am 4:12 am 5:12 am 6:12 am 7:12 am 8:12 am
U3 Total ends 9:43 pm 10:43 pm 11:43 pm 12:43 am 1:43 am 2:43 am 3:43 am 4:43 am 5:43 am 6:43 am 7:43 am 8:43 am
U4 Partial ends 10:51 pm 11:51 pm 12:51 am 1:51 am 2:51 am 3:51 am 4:51 am 5:51 am 6:51 am 7:51 am 8:51 am 9:51 am
P4 Penumbral ends* 11:48 pm 12:48 am 1:48 am 2:48 am 3:48 am 4:48 am 5:48 am 6:48 am 7:48 am 8:48 am 9:48 am 10:48 am





It took place in the constellation of Cancer, just west of the Beehive Cluster.

Impact sighted[edit]

Livestreams detected a flash of light while viewing the eclipse. It was "likely caused by the crash of a tiny, fast-moving meteoroid left behind by a comet."[5]

Originally thinking it was electronic noise from the camera, astronomers and citizen scientists shared the visual phenomenon with each other to identify it.[5]

When totality was just beginning at 4:41 UT, the tiny speck of light blinked south of a nearly 55-mile-wide crater in the western part of the moon.[9]

The location of the impact may be somewhere in the lunar highlands, south of Byrgius crater, according to Justin Cowart, a graduate student in geosciences at Stony Brook University in New York who first saw the flash of light.[5]

“A meteoroid about this size hits the moon about once a week or so,” said Cowart.[9]

This may be the first time that a collision, during a total lunar eclipse, was captured on video.[5]

“I have not heard of anyone seeing an impact like this during a lunar eclipse before,” said Sara Russell, a professor of planetary sciences at the Natural History Museum in London.[5]

People posted their images and video of a flicker of light as news spread quickly on social media.[9]

Working overtime, co-director of the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System, MIDAS, an astrophysicist at the University of Huelva in Spain, Jose Maria Madiedo, set up eight telescopes to watch for any impacts during the eclipse.[9]

“Something inside of me told me that this time would be the time,” said Madiedo.[9]

A paper calculated a mass between 20 and 100 kilograms and diameter of 30 to 50 cm that may have caused a 7–15 meter crater located "inside a triangle with vertices in the Lagrange H, K and X craters".[10] Other astronomers estimated a 10-15 meter crater from a 45 kg asteroid moving 61,000 km/h.[11]

Related eclipses[edit]

Eclipses of 2019[edit]

Lunar year series[edit]

Lunar eclipse series sets from 2016–2020
Descending node   Ascending node
Saros Date Type
Gamma Saros Date
109 2016 Aug 18
1.56406 114
2017 Feb 11
2017 Aug 07
0.86690 124
2018 Jan 31
2018 Jul 27
0.11681 134
2019 Jan 21
2019 Jul 16
−0.64300 144
2020 Jan 10
149 2020 Jul 05
Last set 2016 Sep 16 Last set 2016 Mar 23
Next set 2020 Jun 05 Next set 2020 Nov 30

Saros series[edit]

It is part of Saros cycle 134.

Half-Saros cycle[edit]

A lunar eclipse will be preceded and followed by solar eclipses by 9 years and 5.5 days (a half saros).[12] This lunar eclipse is related to two annular solar eclipses of Solar Saros 141.

15 January 2010 26 January 2028

More details[edit]

Penumbral Magnitude = 2.16972 (216.972%)

Umbral Magnitude = 1.19657 (119.657%)

Gamma = 0.36842 (36.945%)

Epsilon = 0.3763° (0°22’34.68”)

Greatest Eclipse = 2019 Jan 21 at 05:12:18.0 UTC

Ecliptic Opposition = 2019 Jan 21 at 05:16:04.9 UTC

Equatorial Opposition = 2019 Jan 21 at 05:07:42.5 UTC

Sun’s Equatorial Right Ascension = 20.205h

Sun’s Equatorial Declination = -19.96°

Sun’s Apparent Diameter = 1950.4 arcseconds

Sun’s Equatorial Horizontal Parallax = 17.8 arcseconds

Moon’s Equatorial Right Ascension = 8.208h

Moon’s Equatorial Declination = +20.34°

Moon’s Apparent Diameter = 2004.2 arcseconds

Moon’s Equatorial Horizontal Parallax = 7355.8 arcseconds

Earth’s Shadow’s Equatorial Right Ascension = 8.205h

Earth’s Shadow’s Equatorial Declination = +19.96°

Earth’s Penumbral Shadow Diameter = 9424.8 arcseconds

Earth’s Umbral Shadow Diameter = 5523.84 arcseconds

Saros = 134 (27 of 73)

Orbital Node = Ascending Node

Moon’s Distance = 357,718 km (222,276 mi)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rogers, James (20 January 2019). "'Super blood Moon' eclipse stuns in remarkable pictures". Fox News.
  2. ^ "Super blood wolf moon: stargazers battle cold and clouds to view lunar eclipse". The Guardian. 21 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  3. ^ Meghan Bartels (22 January 2019). "Watch a Meteor Smack the Blood Moon in This Lunar Eclipse Video". Space.com. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  4. ^ "A meteor hit the moon during the lunar eclipse. Here's what we know". Science & Innovation. 22 January 2019. Archived from the original on 23 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Andrews, Robin George (23 January 2019). "During the Lunar Eclipse, Something Slammed Into the Moon". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Video: A Meteorite Hit the Moon During the Recent Eclipse!". Jason Kottke. 23 January 2019.
  7. ^ Clarke, Kevin. "On the nature of eclipses". Inconstant Moon. Cyclopedia Selenica. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  8. ^ Espenak, Fred. "Lunar Eclipses for Beginners". MrEclipse. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d e "A meteor hit the moon during the lunar eclipse. Here's what we know". 22 January 2019. Archived from the original on 23 January 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  10. ^ Location, orbit and energy of a meteoroid impacting the moon during the Lunar Eclipse of January 21, 2019
  11. ^ The space rock that hit the Moon at 61,000 kilometres an hour | The Royal Astronomical Society
  12. ^ Mathematical Astronomy Morsels, Jean Meeus, p.110, Chapter 18, The half-saros

External links[edit]