Why you should set your alarm for 4:51am on Wednesday
Yes, you read that right
January is coming to a close, and for many of us we are feeling the dip in spirit after a December of listening to Fairytale of New York on repeat, dancing around twinkling tree lights and sipping bubbling champagne. But 2018 has a spectacle in store to keep us energized. The 31st of January will bring the second full moon of January (literally ‘once-in-a-blue-moon'), and with it a total lunar eclipse.
South America, Africa and Europe will miss this nighttime phenomenon, but here on the West Coast we are set to be blessed with a lunar performance. This is your chance to conquer a rooftop garden or climb up to a top floor balcony, wrap up warm and sit back.
You should see the last moment of the complete, shining moon at 2:51am, at which point it will gradually become darkened by the Earth’s outer shadow. By 3:48 the partial eclipse will start, as the moon dips behind the shadow directly cast from the earth, and a red tinge will begin.
At 4:51 (the crucial moment) total eclipse will commence, and the moon will be at its most vibrant red, a color not always associated with eclipses but which we’re lucky enough to enjoy due to the specific position of the moon in this cycle. The moon will be at maximum eclipse at 5:29, in the center of the Earth’s shadow, until the total eclipse ends at 6:07. You should definitely try to see it sometime before then.
Cali won’t be seeing another eclipse until 2019, so if you can, find a way of shaking your sleepy self into action between 4:51 and 5:29. Better yet, gaze up at the sky on your way back from that middle-of-the-night ice cream trip, then take a moment to capture the rare sight.
To add to this month of moonlight magic, the night before will also be a supermoon at 1:58am, where the moon will reach its closest to the earth at 223,068 miles. No wonder with all the lunar activity we don’t enter into complete lunacy!
If you catch the eclipse, snap a photo and DM it to us on Instagram @TheTabUCLA. We'll publish the best photos and videos to our story!