It hasn’t happened in 32 years, and won’t for another 18 years: Sunday evening, a total lunar eclipse will coincide with a “Supermoon.”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 it’s completely in the shadow of Earth, a bit of reddish sunlight still reaches the 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,” according to Alan MacRobert of Sky and Telescope magazine.The total eclipse will start at 10:11 p.m. EDT (7:11 p.m. PDT) Sunday evening and will last 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, NASA said.Weather permitting, folks in the eastern half of North America can watch every stage of the eclipse, from beginning to end of the partial phases, with the moon mostly high in the sky, Sky and Telescope reports.In the West, the first partial stage of the eclipse will already be in progress when the moon rises in the east around sunset.
What does a Supermoon mean? It just means the moon looks a bit bigger than usual since its a bit closer to the Earth than usual. “Because the orbit of the moon is not a perfect circle, the moon is sometimes closer to the Earth than at other times during its orbit,” NASA scientist Noah Petro said in a statement.”There’s no physical difference in the moon,”
What is uncommon is for a total lunar eclipse to coincide with a Supermoon. There have been just five such events since 1900 (in 1910, 1928, 1946, 1964 and 1982), NASA said.This is the last total lunar eclipse visible anywhere on Earth until 2018, according to Sky and Telescope. Americans will actually see a total solar eclipse (in Aug. 2017) before the next total lunar eclipse.
This September full moon is also called a Blood Moon, because it presents the fourth and final eclipse of a lunar tetrad: four straight total eclipses of the moon, spaced at six lunar months (full moons) apart. Phew!
Who will see the September 27-28 total lunar eclipse? The September 2015 full moon passes directly through Earth’s dark (umbral) shadow. The total part of this eclipse lasts for 72 minutes. A partial umbral eclipse precedes totality by some 64 minutes, and follows totality by about the same period of time, so the moon takes about 3 and 1/3 hours to completely sweep through the Earth’s dark shadow.
North America, South America, the Atlantic Ocean, Greenland, Europe, Africa and the Middle East are in a good position worldwide to watch the total eclipse of the moon. If you live in the Americas, the total eclipse happens after sunset September 27. In the world’s eastern hemisphere, the total eclipse happens after midnight and before sunrise September 28.
Eclipse times for North American time zones.
Atlantic Daylight Time (September 27, 2015)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 10:07 p.m. ADT on September 27
Total eclipse begins: 11:11 p.m. ADT
Greatest eclipse: 11:47 p.m. ADT
Total eclipse ends: 12:23 a.m. ADT on September 28
Partial eclipse ends: 1:27 a.m. ADT on September 28
Eastern Daylight Time (September 27, 2015)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 9:07 p.m. EDT on September 27
Total eclipse begins: 10:11 p.m. EDT
Greatest eclipse: 10:47 p.m. EDT
Total eclipse ends: 11:23 p.m. EDT
Partial eclipse ends: 12:27 a.m. EDT on September 28
Central Daylight Time (September 27, 2015)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 8:07 p.m. CDT on September 27
Total eclipse begins: 9:11 p.m. CDT
Greatest eclipse: 9:47 p.m. CDT
Total eclipse ends: 10:23 p.m. CDT
Partial eclipse ends: 11:27 p.m. CDT
Mountain Daylight Time (September 27, 2015)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 7:07 p.m. MDT on September 27
Total eclipse begins: 8:11 p.m. MDT
Greatest eclipse: 8:47 p.m. MDT
Total eclipse ends: 9:23 p.m. MDT
Partial eclipse ends: 10:27 p.m. MDT
Pacific Daylight Time (September 27, 2015)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 6:07 p.m. PDT on September 27
Total eclipse begins: 7:11 p.m. PDT
Greatest eclipse: 7:47 p.m. PDT
Total eclipse ends: 8:23 p.m. PDT
Partial eclipse ends: 9:27 p.m. PDT
Alaskan Daylight Time (September 27, 2015)
Partial umbral eclipse begins before sunset September 27
Total eclipse begins before sunset
Greatest eclipse: 6:47 p.m. ADT
Total eclipse ends: 7:23 p.m. ADT
Partial eclipse ends: 8:27 p.m. ADT