This Sunday, Sept. 27, after more than 30 years, people in the United States will be able to witness again the rare Supermoon Lunar Eclipse.
For those who will be watching, you will see a larger-than-normal harvest moon beginning to dim and eventually turning red which will last for more than an hour. The last time this happened was around 1982, and it won’t happen again until 2033, rare chance indeed.
For those unfamiliar with these phenomenal event, the supermoon is what makes the moon appear bigger whilst the lunar eclipse turns the moon red. This are two usually separate phenomena occurring at the the same time.
The combination should make for a spectacular sight: a massive, red moon hanging in the sky for more than hour. This light show in the sky is really a must see.
If you’re planning on watching this, the best viewing areas are in areas with dark skies.
Here are some other tips of viewing the nighttime sky show:
- Make sure to be at your stargazing destination while it’s still light out to allow your eyes to adjust slowly as the light disappears. This also allows you to see where you’re going as you choose the perfect viewing spot.
- Don’t use flashlights and cell phone displays. The first tip above should allow you to see enough to get around without damaging your night vision. If you need to use light, try placing red tape over a flashlight, since red light is less damaging to night vision ability.
- Bring chairs, blankets, water and snacks to make your night comfortable. You may be there for a couple hours, so don’t let hunger or discomfort ruin this spectacular evening!
- Know what to look for: visit a site like www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/sky-at-a-glance/ to see what will be in the sky during your visit. Stargazing is even more fun when you can point out constellations, planets and other celestial elements.
For those unfamiliar with the term supermoon and lunar eclipse. “Supermoon” is the unofficial term for “perigee,” meaning, when a full moon coincides with the moon’s closest approach to Earth in its oval-shaped orbit, making it appear 14 percent bigger in the night sky. A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth passes between the moon and the sun. The moon enters the Earth’s shadow, creating a reddish glow on the moon.
We’re actually in the middle of a cycle of three supermoons in a row. The first showed up Aug. 29, and the last will be Oct. 27.
According to NASA the supermoon will begin to dim at 8:11 p.m. EDT. A shadow will fall over the moon starting at 9:07, with the total eclipse beginning at 10:11 and lasting for an hour and 12 minutes.
Image via NASA