Super-Rare Supermoon Lunar Eclipse Only Days Away
With the huge supermoon lunar eclipse just one week away, it's time to dust off your small telescopes and binoculars, track down an observatory event or webcast, or draft your invitations for a moon-cake party.
With the huge supermoon lunar eclipse just one week away, it's time to dust off your small telescopes and binoculars, track down an observatory event or webcast, or draft your invitations for a moon-cake party. Don't wait too long - if you miss it, the next one isn't until 2033.
PHOTOS: Spectacular Supermoon Seen Around the World
The supermoon lunar eclipse of 2015 will occur Sunday, Sept. 27, and is a confluence of three events: a full moon; a lunar eclipse, in which the Earth blocks the sun's light from hitting the moon; and lunar perigee, when the moon is in the closest part of its orbit to Earth. The last time such a confluence happened was in 1982; there were just five instances of it in the 20th century. This time around, viewers looking from the Americas, Europe, Africa, western Asia and the eastern Pacific Ocean will have a chance to see the show. [Video: Rare Super 'Blood Moon' Lunar Eclipse Coming, Last Until 2033]
During lunar perigee, the moon appears larger and brighter in the sky, which is why a full moon coinciding with perigee is known as a "supermoon." (A "minimoon" is when the full moon is at its farthest point from the Earth.) This large moon will present the perfect canvas to watch the Earth's shadow slide over and block the moon's light.
PHOTOS: Lunar Phases: The Changing Face of the Moon
As if that weren't spectacular enough, there's the origin of the eclipse's other name, "blood moon." The moon doesn't simply disappear into Earth's shadow during a lunar eclipse; instead, it's illuminated by an eerie, reddish glow of the light refracting through the edges of Earth's atmosphere.
The moon will be shrouded in shadow Sunday night or early Monday morning (depending on the time zone). It will enter the dark part of the Earth's shadow at 9:07 EDT Sunday (0107 GMT), and it will enter a total eclipse by 10:11 p.m. EDT (0211 GMT Monday) beforebegin to emerge from shadow 12 minutes later. Areas that cannot see the full eclipse, because sunset comes too late or sunrise too early, may still be able to see part of the moon obscured.
Several webcasts are planned to stream live views of the eclipse online. The Slooh Community Observatory, a skywatching website that provides users access to remotely operated telescopes, will offer a flagship webcast of the lunar eclipse that can be accessed at the Slooh website, where visitors can also find Slooh's archive of past webcasts.
ANALYSIS: Beyond Sunday's 'Supermoon': Lunar Perigee Science
In Los Angeles, California, the famed Griffith Observatory, will host a live webcast of its public viewing event, where the observatory will provide binoculars and telescopes for people to watch the eclipse. Astronomy buffs can listen to the LA Philharmonic and Steinway & Sons play moon-themed music as the eclipse takes place, and webcast viewers can follow along as well. And the University of Arizona's SkyCenter observatory atop Mount Lemmon will also stream live telescope views in an updating image at its SkyCenter website here.
Of course, in addition to the telescope, binoculars and webcast viewing methods, the eclipse can be seen with the old-fashioned naked eye - so be sure to look up!
More from SPACE.com:
'Blood Moons' Explained: What Causes a Lunar Eclipse Tetrad? (Infographic)
How to Observe the Moon (Infographic)
Rare 'Super-Harvest Blood Moon' To Shine On September 27, 2015 | Video Original article on Space.com. Copyright 2015 SPACE.com, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
A cyclist is seen passing in front of the supermoon in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain, on Aug. 29, 2015.
Last night our moon appeared brighter and bigger as it reached its closest distance to Earth. Astronomers call the event a perigee full moon, as perigee means "near Earth." Also called a "supermoon," it appeared 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than the typical full moon. Here the supermoon is seen in the sky over Beijing.
A dragon bridge lit by the supermoon over Broadway Blvd. in Los Angeles' Chinatown.
The supermoon is seen over Istanbul, Turkey.
The supermoon visible over Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The supermoon rises over the Acriopoli monument in Athens and the Ancient Roman Market.
A supermoon rises over midtown Manhattan and the Empire State Building in New York City. The next supermoon will be September 9th -- but it won't be as big as last night's event.