A rare and beautiful astronomical event will happen this Sunday, September 27th: a Supermoon lunar eclipse. It will be an interesting mix of astronomical events – a full moon, a Supermoon and a total lunar eclipse, all in one event. Let’s explain in short what every of these phenomena means.
First of all, everybody knows what a full moon is, it happens once a month, but this will coincide to the fact that the moon will be also closest to the Earth (the perigee, the closest point to Earth on the moon’s elliptical orbit), at about 220,000 miles, instead of 240,000. This is called a Supermoon, the moon will appear to be 14 percent larger. And last of all there will be also a total lunar eclipse.
Total lunar eclipses occur when the Earth is placed between the Sun and the moon and it casts its shadow upon the moon’s surface. But it doesn’t totally shade the moon, some light with longer wavelengths passes through Earth’s atmosphere thanks to refraction and the moon appears reddish.
All these events will make up a unique nighttime spectacle that happened several times in the last century (the last Supermoon eclipse was in 1982), and it will happen again in 2033. So, if you are in US or Canada, South America or Western and Central Europe or Western Africa then your’re lucky to witness the best Supermoon lunar eclipse of your generation.
The eclipse peak time will be at 2:47 AM UT, on September the 28th, or 10:47 PM ET, on Sunday, September the 27th; the moon will be completely shaded for about an hour. Enjoy!