Total Lunar Eclipse + Supermoon!

Sep. 23, 2015: Set your alarms for Sunday night- Stateliners will get a view of a total lunar eclipse, the last in a series of four (as know as a tetrad). If you recall, we in the U.S. have been lucky to view all four in the series: they occurred on April 15, 2014, October 8, 2014, April 4th of this year, and now this final eclipse Sunday night.

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A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly into the Earth’s shadow, as the Sun, Earth, and the moon all line up. The moon takes on a red-orange glow as the Earth’s shadow is projected onto the moon.

lunar eclipse

Sunday night’s lunar eclipse will be a special one. The full moon during the lunar eclipse will be a “supermoon”. The moon’s orbit is in the shape of an oval, so the moon is sometimes closer or farther away from the Earth. When we get a full moon when the moon is at its closest point, the moon appears 14% bigger and 30% brighter. This makes the full moon look more brilliant than normal, hence the term “supermoon”.

supermoon

This combination of supermoon and total lunar eclipse is rare. The last one occurred in 1982, and there were only 5 throughout the last century. The next one doesn’t happen again for another 18 years, so do your best to check this one out!

lunar eclipse 2

The best time for viewing will be between 9:11 pm and 10:23 pm, as this is when totality occurs- the moon is fully in the Earth’s shadow, and completely covered in the red-orange glow (which is why people call this a “Blood Moon”).

The next total lunar eclipse doesn’t occur until 2018, so this will be it for a while. The next big event will be a total solar eclipse in August 2017- you won’t want to miss that one!

-Alex

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Posted under weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on September 23, 2015

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