Three celestial events are converging Sunday to produce a rare viewing opportunity in the night sky.
On Sept. 27, 2015, the moon will reach its fullest phase for the month.
At or near the time this happens, the moon will be in its orbit closest to Earth. That will make the moon look exceptionally bright and large.
Then the moon will pass behind the Earth for a full lunar eclipse. It’s called a Supermoon Eclipse, and the last one was in 1982, according to Space.com. The next will take place in 2033.
The moon will have a red tint during the eclipse, giving it another name — blood moon. “That red light shining onto the moon is sunlight that has skimmed and bent through Earth’s atmosphere: that is, from all the sunrises and sunsets that ring the world at any given moment,” said Alan MacRobert of Sky and Telescope magazine.
Key Times for the Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse
Editor’s Note: All times are Eastern Standard Time (EST)
The eclipse will begin when the moon enters the faint outer portion, or penumbra, of the Earth’s shadow. This will be at about 8:40 p.m. EST.
The moon will enter Earth’s much darker umbral shadow at 9:07 p.m. This is considered the beginning of the partial eclipse.
The total eclipse begins at 10:11 p.m. and ends at 11:23 p.m.
Then there’s another partial eclipse until 12:27 a.m., and the penumbra will be last seen at 12:55 a.m.
You don’t need anything special to view the eclipse, although binoculars or a telescope will improve the view. You may also want to participate in a viewing event.
September 27 – 28, 6:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
Shenandoah National Park Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Visitor Center, Skyline Dr, Stanley, VA 22851
On Sunday night, a total lunar eclipse is scheduled to occur. Total lunar eclipses result in a rare phenomenon known as a blood moon. NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern will be giving a presentation on the importance of the moon and the significance of the eclipse before everyone ventures out to the lawn to witness the event.
NASA Visitor Center Super Moon Eclipse Viewing Event
September 27 – 28, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Wallops Island, VA 23337
NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility is hosting a viewing of the total lunar eclipse. The event starts at 8 pm, with telescopes and binoculars being used to witness the eclipse. Arts and crafts and movies will also be playing during the duration of the event. The event is free and open to the public.
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