Are you ready for a rare astronomical event? This weekend, you can see a supermoon total lunar eclipse, which is the last eclipse of the “blood moon tetrad” of total lunar eclipses over the past year.
Why Is the Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse Special?
This particular eclipse is special because it combines three events: a full moon, a lunar eclipse, and lunar perigee. Together, these events combine to produce an extremely big “blood moon” or lunar total eclipse. While lunar eclipses (even total eclipses) are not particularly rare, and lunar perigee (when the Moon is closest to the Earth) occurs every year, this is your last chance to see a total lunar eclipse at lunar perigee for 18 years (2033). The moon during this total eclipse will appear 14% larger than usual, offering a spectacular view.
When Is the Lunar Eclipse?
The eclipse is Sunday, September 27, 2015. Expect to see slight dimming of the full moon starting shortly after 8 pm EDT. The edge of Earth’s shadow begins to fall across the moon (starting the eclipse) at 9:07 pm EDT. The total eclipse starts at 10:11 pm EDT and last for 72 minutes. During totality, the moon appears reddish because of the diffraction of light in the atmosphere (much like how sunset works). You may want to check the sky earlier, depending where you live, so that you can view moonrise of the supermoon (truly beautiful).
Is the 2015 Supermoon Eclipse Visible Where I Live?
I found this handy graphic on Wikipedia that shows the Earth as it would appear if viewed from the Moon during the point of greatest eclipse. If you can see your home in this image, theoretically you can go outside and view the total lunar eclipse. About 2 billion people can see this rare event, including Europe, North and South America, Africa, and parts of Asia and the Pacific.
How Can I Watch the Supermoon Eclipse?
You have two great ways to view the eclipse.
- If you live in a place where the supermoon total lunar eclipse will be visible, just go outdoors and watch it.
- If you can’t view the eclipse or it’s cloudy, tune in to the Slooh Community Observatory to watch live coverage of the total lunar eclipse.