Stargazers across the globe may want to step outside on Friday night to catch a glimpse of the Wolf Moon, the first full moon of the year and one that will look different from those in recent months.
Friday night will feature a penumbral lunar eclipse, the first of its kind since 2017 and the first of four in 2020.
A penumbral lunar eclipse happens when the moon passes through the Earth’s outer shadow, known as the penumbra, and misses the darker inner shadow, known as the umbra. As a result, only part of the moon turns dark as opposed to a total lunar eclipse when the entire moon goes dark before turning a dark red or rusty orange color.
“The full Moon for January was called the Full Wolf Moon because wolves were more often heard at this time,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac explained on its website. “[W]olves do tend to howl more often during winter months, and generally howl to define territory, locate pack members, and gather for hunting.”