Tonight, for the first time in more than 30 years, you can witness a supermoon in combination with a lunar eclipse. On the night of September 27, 2015, a supermoon lunar eclipse will be viewable in the night sky for those living in North and South America. Those living in Europe and Africa can view it in the early morning hours of September 28. The eclipse will also be visible in parts of West Asia and the eastern Pacific.
A supermoon is a full moon occurring with the moon’s closest approach to Earth, and the moon can appear ~14% larger. A total lunar eclipse happens when the full moon passes through the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, the umbra. Learn more about this eclipse, including photography tips, from NASA.
This supermoon eclipse will last 1 hour and 11 minutes. The eclipse will cast the moon into shadow beginning at 7:11 pm CDT. The total eclipse starts at 9:11 pm CDT, peaking at 9:47 pm CDT.
As for the weather, the clouds in Columbia, Missouri, should mostly clear out by 8 pm, so there is a good chance to see the eclipse. Alternately, you can watch NASA’s live stream from 7 to at least 10:30 pm CDT (8:00 pm until at least 11:30 pm EDT), broadcast from Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, with a live feed from the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, California. Mitzi Adams, a NASA solar physicist at Marshall will discuss the eclipse and answer questions from Twitter. To ask a question, use #askNASA. The live feed from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will offer views of the eclipse from not only the Griffith Observatory, but the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Fernbank Observatory in Atlanta, and other locations across the United States. The live feed is an alternative for those experiencing less-than-optimal weather or light-polluted night skies.
Information for this article has been compiled from the news release: NASA TV to Provide Live Feed of Sunday’s Supermoon Eclipse.
The moon does not make its own light; it reflects light it receives from the sun. During a lunar eclipse, the moon appears less and less bright as sunlight is blocked by the Earth’s shadow. As totality approaches, sunlight reaches the moon indirectly and is refracted around the “edges” of Earth, through Earth’s atmosphere. Because of this, almost all colors except red are “filtered” out, and the eclipsed moon appears reddish or dark brown. This filtering is caused by particulates in our atmosphere; when there have been a lot of fires and/or volcanic eruptions, lunar eclipses will appear darker and redder. This eerie—but harmless—effect has earned the phenomenon the nickname “blood moon”.
Learn more about eclipses and how NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will wait as Earth blots out the sun and the moon goes dark. LRO scientists embrace new possibilities, extending their scientific exploration to include eclipses and other events that can reveal more of the moon’s secrets.
The next supermoon eclipse will occur in 2033.
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