T&T To See Total Lunar Eclipse (Blood Moon) on January 21st 2019

While not uncommon, a total lunar eclipse is carded to occur on January 20th-January 21st, 2019. These total lunar eclipses are also known as a blood moon. While your psychic or whatever you may subscribe to may say that they alone predicted this event, or it brings about the end of days, these events have been happening since the inception of the moon and are fairly predictable.

Diagram::A Total Lunar Eclipse (Credit: timeanddate.com)

A total lunar eclipse is effectively a full moon, that is also being blocked by Earth, casting a shadow onto the moon – hence the reddish hue.  

20–21 January 2019 — Total Lunar Eclipse. (Credit: timeanddate.com)

What makes this eclipse special?

Why is this event special? Well, beyond its magnificent sight, it is the first total lunar eclipse that will be visible from Trinidad and Tobago in three years and will be visible from the complete start to end. This means, from Trinidad and Tobago, we’ll be able to see the moon go from its regularly off white color, to and orange-red and then a reddish color, then slowly back to its regular state.

Timeline of the Total Lunar Eclipse, starting at 11:33PM January 20th, with Total Lunar Eclipse occurring at 1:12AM January 21st 2019. Photo Credit: Nirmala Singh

Although Trinbagonians were able to see the last partial lunar eclipse in August 2017, the last time a total lunar eclipse was fully visible to Trinidad and Tobago was on September 27-28, 2015.

Perigee versus Apogee (Supermoon vs Micromoons)

Another special fact about this total lunar eclipse is that is will be a supermoon. This means that the Moon is less than 360,000 Kilometers away from the center of the Earth and appears about 7% brighter than an average full Moon.

Supermoon Brings King Tide

Tides of a Lunar Cycle

Lastly, with every full moon, we get spring tides. During spring tides, the tidal range is larger than normal i.e. higher than average high tides and lower than average low tides occur. With every supermoon however, we can get a phenomenon called King Tides, or Perigean spring tides. During king tides, the tidal range is even higher than usual, with higher high tides and lower low tides than usual. This can be particularly devastating to coastal communities that suffer from coastal flooding, particularly if it coincides with a hazardous seas event or the area is prone to coastal flooding.

Perigean Spring Tides

Thankfully, seas are expected to be slight to moderate, with waves between 1.5-2.0 meters in open waters during this period and calm in sheltered areas. See here for more information about tides, the supermoon and when can we expect other king tide events this year.

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