Skywatchers will be in for a super show this month as the full moon lights the night of September 27-28. It will be a “supermoon” or a perigee full moon, the moon’s closest approach to the Earth.
The moon does appear larger and brighter at perigee. As if that weren’t spectacular enough, on the night of Sept. 27-28, there will also be a total lunar eclipse.
A lunar eclipse can only occur during a full moon, when the moon is directly opposite the sun in our sky. During a lunar eclipse, the moon will pass completely inside of the Earth’s umbral shadow, casting the moon in a red-orange light–a Blood Moon.
This is the fourth Blood Moon in two years– a lunar tetrad. You can read about the first three here, here, and here. A lunar tetrad is a relatively rare occurrence. The next such configuration will occur in 2032-2033.
The lunar eclipse should be visible in North America (weather permitting). Here are the times for the Central Time Zone, courtesy of Earth Sky—
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
EarthSky has times for other locations here.
A lunar eclipse is a moving and mysterious sight. This is something you won’t want to miss!
How about an eclipse party? There will be free family events planned at the Adler Planetarium. You can find out more here
In case of rain or overcast sky, there will be live webcasts online. You can follow along at Sky & Telescope here.
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