Clouds could part in time for Baltimoreans to watch a total lunar eclipse being called the Super Blood Wolf Moon.
The eclipse was expected to be one of the highlights of 2019 for stargazers.
A storm system plowing its way across the northeastern United States brought rain to Maryland overnight, but skies are expected to gradually clear Sunday as the wet weather departs. Frigid air and gusty winds are forecast to move in behind the storm.
If the storm doesn’t move quickly enough, skies could be cloudy when the moon enters total eclipse just before midnight.
Total lunar eclipses are known for creating “blood” moons because instead of fully darkening the moon behind Earth’s shadow, light that bends around Earth’s atmosphere can sometimes cast a reddish tint across it.
This one is “super” because it coincides with lunar perigee, when the moon is at its closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit around the planet. Super moons can appear slightly larger and brighter than other full moons, though it can be hard to tell with the naked eye.
And January’s full moon has long been known as the Wolf Moon, because of long howls the animals call out during their breeding season. It has also been known as the Old Moon, the Ice Moon or the Moon After Yule.
The moon enters total eclipse at 11:41 p.m. Sunday, reaching greatest eclipse about 25 minutes later. The total eclipse ends at 12:43 a.m. Monday.
The National Weather Service predicts partly cloudy conditions late Sunday night, with perhaps 20 percent of the sky obscured by clouds.
AccuWeather.com had predicted fair or poor viewing conditions in Maryland, but now expects the Baltimore region could find itself in a swath of the southeastern United States with a good chance of seeing the eclipse. Clouds are likely to block the eclipse across most of the country, but clear skies are forecast from Texas to the lower Mississippi River valley states to Florida.