A rare celestial occurrence will be a treat for all astronomers and skygazers – a lunar eclipse coinciding with a supermoon.
During a supermoon, the moon appears larger than usual in the sky. This is because of the moon being in the closest part of its orbit to Earth. Meanwhile, the lunar eclipse, which will cause the moon to appear red in color, will be visible in North America, South America, West Africa and Western Europe. BBC reports that the last time that a supermoon coincided with a lunar eclipse was in 1982. A similar phenomenon is not set to occur again until 2033.
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NASA’s solar physicist, Mitzi Adams, will explain more about the astronomical event and answer questions from Twitter with the hashtag #askNASA. The space agency has also released videos and animations to explain the eclipse. Live streaming of the event will be broadcasted from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Fernbank Observatory in Atlanta and many other venues across the country.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is positioned in the darkest shadows cast by the Earth. A total lunar eclipse is a phenomenon that occurs when the Sun, Earth and moon are positioned in an exact line, with the Earth situated in the middle of the Sun and moon. While this occurrence causes the moon to become less visible, it can only be seen through the sunlight that passes through the Earth’s atmosphere – with the violet to green portions of the visible spectrum getting filtered out more than the red part. As a result, the moon acquires a reddish tone – brick color, rusty or blood red.
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Dr. Robert Massey, deputy executive director of the UK’s Royal Astronomical Society, said that this eclipse will be an “incredibly beautiful event.” However, he says that the definition of supermoon “is slightly problematic. Is a supermoon taking place at the perigee, the day before, the day after? Does a supermoon have to be a particularly close perigee, or can it be a bit further out? It’s not very well defined.”
According to the Hollywood Life, the phenomenon will occur on September 27, and will last for an hour and 11 minutes. If the weather is clear, the event can be seen at 8:11 pm, and the total eclipse occurring at 10:11 pm.
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