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‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’ to get star billing in weekend lunar eclipse

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Look up into the night sky on Sunday and – if it is clear – you may witness the so-called “Super Blood Wolf Moon” total lunar eclipse, which will take a star turn across the continental United States during prime time for viewing.

The total eclipse, which will begin minutes before midnight on the East Coast (0500 GMT) and just before 9 p.m. in the West, will unfold on the day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday when most Americans have no school or work.

That means even the youngest astronomy buffs may get to stay up late and attend one of many watch parties that have been organized from Florida to Oregon.

The total eclipse will last for about an hour, and the best viewing is from North and South America, according to National Geographic. Partial eclipses leading up to and following the total eclipse mean the entire event will last 3.5 hours.

Total lunar eclipses occur when the moon moves into perfect alignment with the sun and earth, giving it a copper-red or “blood” appearance to those watching from below.

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“Amateur astronomy clubs are throwing parties because this is what they live for – to get entire families excited about our place in the universe by seeing the mechanics of the cosmos,” said Andrew Fazekas, spokesman for Astronomers Without Borders.

In Pennsylvania, the York County Astronomical Society has invited the public to peer through its observatory’s telescopes for a close-up look. In Los Angeles, Griffith Observatory said it was anticipating “extremely large crowds,” and its website will live-stream a telescopic view of the eclipse.

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A “super” moon occurs when the moon is especially close to earth, while a “wolf moon” is the traditional name for the full moon of January, when the howling of wolves was a sound that helped define winter, according to The Farmers Almanac.

In a total lunar eclipse, the moon never goes completely dark. Rather, it takes on a reddish glow from refracted light as the heavenly bodies move into position – hence the “blood moon” moniker. The more particulate or pollution in the atmosphere, the redder the moon appears.

“All of the sunrises and sunsets around the world are simultaneously cast onto the surface of the moon,” Fazekas said.

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As many as 2.8 billion people may see this weekend’s eclipse from the Western Hemisphere, Europe, West Africa and northernmost Russia, according to Space.com.

While total lunar eclipses are not especially rare, the 2019 version takes place early enough in the evening that it can be enjoyed by U.S. stargazers of all ages, said George Lomaga, a retired astronomy professor from Suffolk County Community College. He plans to attend an eclipse party at Hallock State Park Preserve on New York’s Long Island.

There, astrophotographer Robert Farrell will demonstrate how to use a mobile phone to photograph celestial objects through a telescope so the spectacle can be shared online.

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If skies are clear, the phenomenon can be seen with the naked eye and no protection is needed to safely enjoy the view, Griffith Observatory said.

Granted permission to stay up past his 8 p.m. bedtime, Gabriel Houging, 8, of Citrus Heights, California, is already dreaming of what he’ll see.

“It’s going to be a moon, but it’s going to look like you painted it orange!” Houging said.

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Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; editing by Frank McGurty and Rosalba O’Brien


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
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Florida woman hurls Trump’s racist slur at man after she gropes his wife: police

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According to a police report first published by The Smoking Gun, a woman in Florida has been arrested after groping a woman on a pleasure cruise in front of her husband and six-year-old daughter, and then telling her husband, "You should go back to the country you came from."

The defendant, Lisa Ann Matteson, reportedly appeared to be intoxicated when she grabbed her fellow passenger's buttocks and said, "Oh, it's curved and nice ... I would do you."

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Trump: Iran claim to break up CIA network ‘totally false’

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US President Donald Trump on Monday denied Iran's claim that it dismantled a CIA spy ring and arrested 17 suspects with alleged links to the US intelligence agency.

"The report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false. Zero truth," Trump tweeted.

"Just more lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Religious Regime that is Badly Failing and has no idea what to do."

"Their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!" Trump added.

Earlier Monday a top Iranian counter-intelligence official told local reporters that the 17 suspects were all Iranians working in "sensitive centers" and the private sector who had acted independently of each other.

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Trump’s Commerce Dept plagued by low morale and ‘disarray’ as chief Wilbur Ross falls asleep in meetings: report

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For months, there has been speculation in Washington, D.C. that Wilbur Ross, secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce for the Trump Administration, is on his way out. Reports that Ross falls asleep in meetings don’t exactly instill confidence in his leadership. And Politico’s Daniel Lippman, in a troubling report, describes the Commerce Department as being in a state of chaos and disorganization.

Lippman reports that according to his sources, the 81-year-old Ross “spends much of his time at the White House” in order to “retain President Donald Trump’s favor.” And the Commerce Department is suffering, Lippman observes, because of Ross’ “penchant for managing upward at the expense of his staff.”

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