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Super views of the ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’

Lunar eclipse
Surrounded by stars, the eclipsed moon turns red over Mount Baker. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

January’s usual weather conditions — with chilly temperatures for much of America and cloudy skies in the Pacific Northwest — aren’t exactly ideal for tracking a total lunar eclipse, but Jan. 20’s “Super Blood Wolf Moon” actually lived up to the hype.

Photographers across much of the country braved the cold to get some jaw-dropping snapshots and time-lapse views. Even in Seattle, where the weather forecast wasn’t promising, the hours-long progression from supersized full moon to a ruddy darkness and back to lunar brightness unfolded in mostly clear skies.

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It’s prime time for ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’ eclipse

Lunar eclipse
A ruddy lunar eclipse hangs over Mount Rainier in 2015. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Are you ready for Jan. 20’s “Super Blood Wolf Moon”? The good news is that North America is well-positioned to see a total lunar eclipse for the first time in nearly a year.

The bad news? If the skies are clouded over, it doesn’t matter.

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Your guide to the super blue blood moon eclipse

Lunar eclipse
A total lunar eclipse gives the full moon a reddish tinge in 2015. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Geographically speaking, the Pacific Northwest is one of the best places in America to see tonight’s super-hyped total lunar eclipse. Meteorologically speaking? Not so much.

Seattleites might have to go as far east as Ellensburg to get a clear view of what’s touted as a “super blue blood moon.” And in reality, the moon won’t be bloody, or blue, or even all that super.

Before we go into full sour-grapes mode, let’s acknowledge that if there’s a chance of seeing the full moon fade to red between 4:51 a.m. and 6:07 a.m. PT Jan. 31, it’s definitely worth getting out of bed.

“Set your alarm early and go out and take a look,” NASA’s Gordon Johnson says in the space agency’s preview of the eclipse.

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Moon upstages Quadrantid meteor shower

Quadrantids
A Quadrantid fireball lights up the sky. (Jimmy Westlake Photo via NASA / Colorado Mountain College)

The good news is that the annual Quadrantid meteor shower is reaching its peak tonight with relatively clear skies in the forecast for Western Washington. The bad news? It’ll be hard to spot shooting stars, due to the night-long glare from a moon that’s just past its super-sized full phase.

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‘Tis the season … for a holiday supermoon

Supermoon
An image of the moon taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is shown in two halves to illustrate the difference between the apparent size of a supermoon (left) and a “micromoon” (right).

Supermoon Sunday is at hand, and although some may scoff, the supermoon concept provides a good excuse to take a close look at a celestial sight we often take for granted.

By some measures, Dec. 3’s full moon is the only supermoon of 2017. The liberal definition would be a full or new moon that’s at or near its closest approach to Earth in its orbit. My definition is stricter: There’s only one supermoon in a given year, reserved for the full moon with the biggest apparent size.

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