Super Blood Moon eclipse visible in France this Sunday

A "blood moon" happens when light reflecting off the Earth's atmosphere turns the Moon reddish in colour

A total “Super Blood Moon” eclipse will be visible to the naked eye from across Europe on the night of Sunday 20 January, as the Moon crosses the shadow of the Earth.

It will be the last chance to see a total Moon eclipse of this kind from Europe until May 16 2022, and will be one of just three such Moons in January visible this century.

A Moon eclipse comes when the Sun, Earth and Moon are perfectly aligned in space.

This particular event has been dubbed a “Super Blood Moon”, in reference to its “supermoon” status, which is what happens when the Moon is closer than normal to Earth, making it look larger and brighter than usual.

It may also appear red in colour at the height of the eclipse, due to sunlight hitting the Earth’s atmosphere.

You will have to be up early to see it: it is expected to begin at around 4h33 French time (GMT+1), with the full eclipse in place from 5h41 to 6h43.

The Moon will be completely out of the Earth’s shadow by 7h50.

As well as Europe, the phenomenon will also be visible from much of west Africa, the Americas, and in French Polynesia.

Sunday’s event comes just over six months after the lining up of the Sun, Earth and Moon in July 2018, which caused a long Moon eclipse, and clear visibility of the planet Mars.

According to the skygazing website Autour du Ciel, from newspaper Le Monde, cold temperatures in January often mean that the sky is exceptionally clear at this time of year, with many constellations and other phenomena very visible to the naked eye (notwithstanding any light pollutions from nearby towns).

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