Are You Prepared For The Lunar Eclipse On September 28th?
Us Earthlings are in for a special treat.
The next big lunar eclipse is coming up this weekend, starting on September 27. If you’re on the east coast of North America, or in South America ( Check Out NASA’s map), you’ll be able to see the whole thing. But before you head outside there are a few things you should know about this event as it is the last total lunar eclipse visible anywhere on Earth until 2018.
Along with being the last visible lunar eclipse for the next 3 years, Sunday’s event also features a Supermoon. This event is so rare that it has only occurred five times since 1910 (in 1928, 1946, 1964, 1982, and 2015) and the next won’t take place until 2033. So be sure to get out and view this as it is an once in a generation astrological event.
So what is a lunar eclipse?
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth is between the full moon and the sun. The Earth’s shadow covers the moon, which often has a red color, hence the “blood” moon nickname.
Although the moon is completely in the shadow of Earth, a bit of reddish sunlight that has skimmed and bent through Earth’s atmosphere still reaches the moon giving it the red glow we are get to see.
Even though the Moon takes roughly a month to orbit the Earth, lunar eclipses do not occur every month. The Moon’s orbit around the Earth is actually tilted at about five degrees with respect to the Earth’s orbit around the Sun meaning that during most lunar months, as seen from the Moon, the Earth passes just below or just above the Sun rather than obscuring it. There are only two time windows in a year when a lunar eclipse can occur and of those times a majority are only partial lunar eclipses.
How does the Supermoon effect the eclipse?
A Supermoon means that the moon looks bigger than usual since its a bit closer to the Earth than usual. Since the orbit of the moon is not a perfect circle, it is periodically closer to Earth than at other times during its orbit. This closeness makes the moon appear about 14% larger then normal. There is no physical difference other then we are closer to the moons orbit than normal.
When should I start to see the eclipse?
You can begin looking to the moon around 8 p.m. EDT on Sunday Sept 27, with the total eclipse setting in around 10 p.m. and lasting one hour and 12 minutes. It will be visible across North and South America, Europe, Africa, and parts of West Asia and the eastern Pacific.
Unlike a solar eclipse, you don’t need special glasses or gizmos to view it, feel free to stare directly at the moon. We suggest a good pair of binoculars or a telescope to help improve the view.