Super moon, lunar eclipse, king tides combine for powerful event Wednesday

Super moon, lunar eclipse, king tides combine for powerful event Wednesday

VICTORIA — There will be a super blue blood moon on Wednesday and a total lunar eclipse, events that by themselves are not uncommon but combined they make for a spectacular night for skywatchers in Western Canada.

On the West Coast, the skies will feature the fantastic lunar show as the gravitational forces of the sun and moon churn up the strongest tides of the year, known as king or spring tides.

“I’m looking to put on my star gazing hat and if it’s a nice, calm evening I’d encourage everybody to go out and have a look at the super moon,” said oceanographer Richard Dewey, associate director of science services at the University of Victoria’s Ocean Networks Canada.

“It’s one of these things that we need to know that we’re just part of a big solar system and the moon is out there as our best partner.”

A blue moon is a full moon that comes twice in the same month. During a lunar eclipse, when the moon passes into the earth’s shadow, the moon often turns red, prompting the moniker blood moon. The super moon appears larger because it’s six per cent closer to the earth and 14 per cent brighter.

All three events are happening Wednesday morning.

Dewey, an expert in coastal flows, tides, waves and turbulence, said the beauty and power of the moon and sea will be on full display.

“We’ve got tide gauges out with Ocean Networks Canada and pressure gauges and we’ll be watching to see that, yes, we’re seeing some of the largest tides of the year,” said Dewey, who has conducted research from Japan to California and along the British Columbia, Alaska and Arctic coasts.

Ocean Networks said its Coastbuster app, originally developed to track marine debris on B.C. shores from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan, can be used to report and comment on tidal activity, including the king tide.

“The moon is a little bit closer, so it appears a little bit bigger,” said Dewey. “It’s also aligned with the sun, so there could be places where the moon is just reaching into the earth’s shadow, so you’ll get a lunar eclipse. It’s going to be a little bit of an extraordinary sight.”

On its website NASA says a lunar eclipse can only happen on the night of a full moon. It only occurs when the sun, earth and moon are aligned and the moon passes behind the earth.

If you live in North America, Alaska or Hawaii, the eclipse will be visible before sunrise on Wednesday, the U.S. space agency says.

In Victoria, the total lunar eclipse starts at 2:51 a.m. and ends at 7:50 a.m. The eclipse will be at its maximum at 5:29 a.m.

Toronto residents will see a partial eclipse, starting at 5:51 a.m. and ending at 7:51 a.m.

“As an oceanographer, the super moons and the spring tides or king tides are always an interesting time when the tidal forces of the ocean are at their maximum,” Dewey said.

He said the king tides are a combination of the gravitational effects of both the sun and the moon on the earth and its oceans.

“When the sun and the moon are aligned at either a new moon or a full moon their forces are pulling together and we end up with very large tides,” Dewey said.

The tides only rise about six centimetres higher than normal, Dewey said, but if weather conditions are stormy and windy, the tides can produce waves that breach dikes and breakwaters and cause flooding.

“This is what we often worry about in December and January is a large spring tide or king tide at the same time as we get a big storm coming through.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Traffic will be delayed on 40th Avenue and 19th Street until the end of February. (Advocate file photo).
Traffic delays expected downtown this weekend

Red Deer drivers will be delayed in the downtown area of the… Continue reading

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Friday, Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the province’s plan to reduce surgical wait times over the next two years. (Photo by Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier)
Alberta provides more funding to reduce surgery wait times

The province is working to provide better access to surgeries over the… Continue reading

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

A vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at South Shore University Hospital, Wednesday, March 3, 2021 in Bay Shore, N.Y. Janssen Pharmaceuticals is a division of Johnson & Johnson. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mark Lennihan
Provinces revise vaccination timelines as Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine approved

Provinces revise vaccination timelines as Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine approved

FILE - In this June 11, 2016 file photo, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II waves as she watches the flypast, with Prince Philip, to right, Prince William, centre, with his son Prince George, front, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge holding Princess Charlotte, centre left, with The Prince of Wales standing with The Duchess of Cornwall, and Princess Anne, fourth left, on the balcony during the Trooping The Colour parade at Buckingham Palace, in London. The timing couldn’t be worse for Harry and Meghan. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will finally get the chance to tell the story behind their departure from royal duties directly to the public on Sunday, March 7, 2021 when their two-hour interview with Oprah Winfrey is broadcast. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, File)
No winners: UK waits for Harry, Meghan’s take on royal split

No winners: UK waits for Harry, Meghan’s take on royal split

Animated character Raya, voiced by Kelly Marie Tran, left, appears with Sisu the dragon in a scene from "Raya and the Last Dragon." THE CANADIAN PRESS/Disney+ via AP
Canadian animator on adding cultural authenticity to ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’

Canadian animator on adding cultural authenticity to ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’

Members of the National Guard, Philip Fane, center, and Megan Puckett, right, help a motorist register at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Long Beach, Calif., Friday, March 5, 2021. More than 27 million Americans fully vaccinated against the coronavirus will have to keep waiting for guidance from U.S. health officials for what they should and shouldn't do. The Biden administration said Friday it's focused on getting the guidance right and accommodating emerging science. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
California to let Major League Baseball, Disneyland reopen

California to let Major League Baseball, Disneyland reopen

Visitors wearing face masks leave the Alamo, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in San Antonio. Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas is lifting a mask mandate and lifting business capacity limits next week. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Study finds mask mandates, dining out influence virus spread

Study finds mask mandates, dining out influence virus spread

An Air Canada flight flies in over hotels by the Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ont. by the Pearson International Airport on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 as new air travel rules come into effect in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
‘It’s time to move on’: Martinrea executives call for end to travel restrictions

‘It’s time to move on’: Martinrea executives call for end to travel restrictions

FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2020, file photo, a passerby walks past a hiring sign while entering a Target store in Westwood, Mass. The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits edged higher last week to 745,000, a sign that many employers continue to cut jobs despite a drop in confirmed viral infections and evidence that the overall economy is improving. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
Jump in hiring fuels optimism for US economic recovery

Jump in hiring fuels optimism for US economic recovery

Most Read