Full Wolf Moon Eclipse 2020: Watch January's Penumbral Lunar Eclipse Live Online

A full 'wolf' moon coinciding with a penumbral lunar eclipse will appear in the sky on Friday, January 10. While it will not be visible from the U.S., viewers can watch the event online via livestreams.

A penumbral lunar eclipse is where there is an imperfect alignment between the sun, moon and Earth. As a result, some of the sun's light is stopped from reaching the moon. Because the alignment is not perfect, only the planet's fainter outer shadow—the penumbra—falls over the moon, hence the name.

Unlike a partial or total lunar eclipse, where a larger proportion of light is blocked, during a penumbral lunar eclipse, the shading of the moon gets a little darker

According to EarthSky, it is expected to be the deepest and, therefore, most noticeable of the four penumbral lunar eclipses scheduled for this year.

The eclipse cannot be directly viewed by people watching from the contiguous U.S. This is because it will to take place during daylight hours, specifically 2:21 p.m. EST.

However, it can be watched online via livestream YouTube channel CosmoSapiens, which will be streaming the event live from 12 p.m. EST on Friday.

Viewers can also watch live online via The Virtual Telescope Project, available here. This is a service provided by Italy's Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory and uses robotic telescopes that are remotely accessible in real-time.

The eclipse can be viewed directly from Alaska, which will still be dark when the eclipse passes. According to timeanddate.com, the event starts above Anchorage at 8.07 a.m. AST, reaching a peak at 10.10 a.m.

Lunar eclipse January 2020
The path of the January 10, 2020 lunar eclipse. NASA

The moon enters the mid-point of its current cycle on Friday, prompting the first full moon of the year.

It will rise "in the east as the sun sets in the west," Ed Bloomer, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, told Newsweek, "the full face of the moon will be illuminated."

As with any stargazing activity, the full moon is best viewed in a clear sky and with an unobstructed view of the skyline. To ensure the best possible view, the Old Farmer's Almanac recommends looking for the full moon as it rises from the horizon, which will take place around sunset.

According to NASA the moon will be at its fullest at 2.21 p.m. EST on January 10, but the time at which the moon rises will depend on your location. According to timeanddate.com, moonrise is scheduled for 4.45 p.m. EST in New York. Those in Miami will experience moonrise at 5.51 p.m. EST.

The full moon reaches its peak on Friday but will appear full to the naked eye until Sunday morning, says NASA.

"In the days after the full moon, it will begin to wane. We quickly reach the point where the best time to view the moon will be very late at night or in the morning," said Bloomer.

"The good news is, we'll be on the path to the new moon, which will mark the Lunar New Year on the 25th January."

The Lunar New Year marks the start of the lunar calendar, where months are based on the moon's cycle. This year, the Lunar New Year will mark the Chinese year of the rat.

Penumbral Eclipse
Black and white image of the moon prior to a penumbral eclipse taken on September 28, 2015 in Somerset, England. The lunar eclipse scheduled for Friday coincides with January's Wolf Moon. Matt Cardy/Getty

The first full moon of the month is also called the Wolf Moon, a tradition derived from Native American culture and adopted by American colonists. According to NASA, other names from other parts of the world include Ice Moon, the Moon after Yule, Duruthu Poya, Shakambhari Purnima and Paush Purnima.

According to the Royal Museums Greenwich, the Wolf Moon is thought to be so-named after hungry wolves, who howl at the moon in distress during winter months because of a lack of food.

There are three more lunar eclipses expected this year, two of which will be visible to those people viewing in the U.S. These are scheduled to take place on July 5 and November 30.

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