Guide to Birmingham’s rare Lunar “Supermoon” Eclipse on January 20, including viewing parties

Birmingham, lunar eclipse, moon
Photo by: Boris Datnow – Hoover, Alabama

Save the date.  On Sunday, January 20, starting at 8:36PM, Birmingham will experience its only lunar eclipse for 2019.

The total lunar eclipse will last approximately five hours, and will end at 1:48AM on January 21st. Totality is expected to occur at 11:12PM.

What make this lunar eclipse special? It coincides with a Supermoon.

According to NASA, this eclipse is being referred to by some as a super blood moon – “super” because the Moon will be closest to Earth in its orbit during the full moon (more on supermoons here) and “blood” because the total lunar eclipse will turn the Moon a reddish hue.

Here is a video that describes the phenomenon.

Samford and Oak Mountain State Park

In the Birmingham metro area there will be two evening viewing parties to witness this rare cosmic event. Here are the details.

Samford University Quad

The Christenberry Planetarium at Samford University offers a consistent and unique opportunity to learn about the skies on Thursday nights. Photo provided by David Weigal

Christenberry Planetarium at Samford University will be hosting a viewing party on the quad of the campus starting at 8:00PM on January 20. The Planetarium, which offers regularly scheduled space and nature programs throughout the year, will make the event fun for families and kids. Visit their Facebook page for details and updates.

Oak Mountain State Park

Joined by the Birmingham Astronomical Society, Oak Mountain State Park is holding a viewing party at Lunker Lake, which is on the north side of the park.  The State Park is asking folks to arrive between 9:30PM to 10:30PM before totality at 11:12. Check out all the details, including items you will need to bring – HERE.

Birmingham long range weather forecast

Of course, the big question will be the weather. As of January 13, seven days out, according to the Weather Channel forecast, they expect rain on Sunday and sunny weather on Monday, January 21st. In fact, there might be some snow.  It is really too early to tell.

No glasses needed

Vulcan Park Birmingham eclipse viewing
Katy Harris savoring the eclipse at Vulcan Park. Photo by Bham Now.

The good news about lunar eclipses is that unlike solar eclipses, which require special glasses a total lunar eclipse can be seen for about an hour by anyone on the nighttime side of Earth – as long as skies are clear.

Last Lunar Eclipse till 2021

Weather permitting, don’t miss what has been dubbed the Super Blood Wolf Moon’ Eclipse. The next lunar eclipse for the U.S. will not occur until 2021.

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.