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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.

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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.

“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.

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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.

COPPERY RED GLOW

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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‘A threat to virtually everything that the United States should stand for’: Scathing NYT op-ed on Trump goes viral

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damning piece by New York Times Opinion Columnist David Leonhardt is going viral. “Donald Trump vs. the United States of America” says it’s “Just the facts, in 40 sentences.”

That’s all it is.

40 sentences, 40 facts chronicling President Donald Trump’s lawlessness, self-dealing, un-American behavior, attempts to do real damage to vital institutions, and grotesque acts. Some are impeachable offenses. Some are just not worthy – or are disqualifying – of a president of the United States.

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Mississippi: African American voters sue over election law rooted in the state’s racist past

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A lawsuit over a Mississippi election law, if successful, will change the way that state elects its governor.

Four African Americans filed the federal civil rights lawsuit in May 2019, charging that the way their state elects its statewide officials violates the Voting Rights Act, the 14th Amendment and the principle of “one-person, one-vote.”

To win election, a candidate for governor of Mississippi has to win an outright majority of the popular vote – and win a majority of the state’s 122 House districts.

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Fox & Friends pushes lies and distortions about intel whistleblower: ‘Almost as if they heard a rumor’

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"Fox & Friends" co-host Steve Doocy pushed inaccurate claims about a whistleblower complaint filed by an intelligence official against President Donald Trump.

The Fox News broadcaster downplayed the complaint, which reportedly involved Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine's president to dig up dirt against Joe Biden, and falsely claimed that Congress had no authority to investigate.

"In this country, you know, we've heard a lot over the last couple of years about how the Democrats would like to impeach the president of the United States," Doocy said, and co-host Brian Kilmeade feigned shock.

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