Super Blood Moon Eclipse

Early Wednesday morning, the Moon suddenly lit up red like an extravagant rosebud in the predawn sky for an extended period – an unprecedented celestial event known as a super blood moon eclipse.

Lunar eclipses begin when the Moon enters Earth’s outer shadow, the penumbra, before moving further inward and entering its darker umbra.

What is a supermoon?

The term supermoon refers to any full Moon that occurs when Earth and Moon are closer together than usual, creating an optical illusion which makes the Moon appear bigger and brighter than it actually is; but don’t be fooled–it is still just another regular full Moon with approximately 14% larger dimensions and 30% increased brightness at perigee; full supermoons occur three to four times each year.

The Moon’s orbit is not perfectly circular, meaning that its approach to Earth varies throughout its cycle and nearer or further away at certain times than others. We celebrate it closer when there’s a full moon! Astrologer Richard Nolle coined the term supermoon to describe when a full Moon coincides with its closest approach. There are no specific criteria as to when or how close a full Moon must come for it to qualify as such a phenomenon–anything within 90% of perigee is usually accepted as such an event!

An especially close full moon to Earth also produces higher tides than usual, due to the Moon’s greater gravitational pull on Earth’s oceans during such occasions, which creates spring tides which become especially noticeable during full and supermoon moons.

There’s also the rare possibility of a total lunar eclipse occurring alongside a supermoon, as seen today. When the Moon passes between Earth and Sun, its shadow will cover it, turning its appearance dark red or purple – known as a “blood moon.” Supermoons may occur more regularly; lunar eclipses during a supermoon or micromoon are much rarer – in fact this marks only the first time ever in modern history that all three events will co-occur! So if you get chance to view this rare event, take photos and share with us using #AdlerPlanet+@adlerplanet!

How does a lunar eclipse work?

Lunar eclipses occur when the Moon passes through Earth’s shadow. At first it enters an outer partial shadow zone called penumbra where its brightness starts to gradually dim; later it moves across into umbra where totality occurs for several hours before moving back out into penumbra again.

Lunar eclipses occur only occasionally throughout the year due to their orbit being slightly tilted away from that of the Sun; therefore they rarely happen every month, like solar eclipses do.

One factor contributing to lunar eclipse viewing ease is that its angular diameter is smaller than that of the Sun; therefore it casts only a limited shadow on Earth. Furthermore, its path of shadow cast by Moon eclipses is narrower allowing more people to witness them easily.

As soon as a lunar eclipse takes place, the Moon illuminates Earth’s atmosphere with a reddish glow due to sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere being refracted and short wavelengths like blue being scattered away while longer wavelengths like orange and red can pass through; similar processes make sunsets and sunrises appear red on our planet.

If the Moon is close enough to Earth, its proximity may allow part of its umbra to illuminate, giving rise to orange or yellow tinted patches on its surface depending on atmospheric conditions at the time of a lunar eclipse.

As well as reflecting light from the Moon itself, atmospheric particles like dust, water vapor and volcanic ash also illuminate its surface with their own beams of illumination, creating an impressive celestial show.

The lunar eclipse cycle is typically measured over 29.5 days known as the synodic month, which represents the average time it takes the Moon to go from one new moon to the next. There may also be additional factors which influence its appearance or duration, including anomalistic months – extra time needed for reaching perigee (closest point to Earth) and returning back out towards apogee (furthest point from Earth).

What time can I see the eclipse?

Overnight Sunday May 26 and early Monday May 27, star gazers and eclipse enthusiasts can anticipate an amazing event: the moon will reach fullness before diving into Earth’s shadow and emerging a coppery red hue as it passes through its penumbra, creating what is known as a super blood moon event visible globally. While solar eclipses require special glasses or contact lenses in order to see safely, lunar eclipses can be witnessed safely with naked eyes, binoculars or telescopes.

For those unable or unwilling to venture outdoors, various livestreams from observatories and universities across the globe are available for viewing online. NASA will host theirs starting at 11:30 pm ET; click here for access.

Visible phases of an eclipse typically begin one hour after it darkens, with totality occurring shortly before midnight. Once totality begins, it takes about 90 minutes for the moon to enter what’s known as an umbra shadow’s center. As it does so, a small, dark scallop begins appearing on its lower left limb – indicating when total darkness will set in and just some sunlight may penetrate to turn the moon orange, red or brown!

Lunar eclipses are completely safe to view; solar eclipses can be hazardous. To ensure optimal viewing conditions during an eclipse, sunglasses should be worn during its final few minutes when the sun has just partially eclipsed the moon’s horizon. You could also create a pinhole projector and use that instead – making sure never to point directly at the sun!

Without eclipse glasses, it’s still easy to enjoy this celestial spectacle by creating a simple pinhole projector from household materials. Simply poke a hole into paper or cardboard with its back facing towards the sun, hold it against a wall or surface, and watch as the shadow of the sun, with or without an eclipsed moon, appears on it’s surface – making this activity fun for kids too! Just be wary of any bright lights that might ruin its effect.

Where can I see the eclipse?

At no special equipment is necessary to observe an eclipse – just your eyes and clear skies! However, planning ahead will help maximize your experience: check local forecasts to see if cloud cover could obscure your view; dress warmly when going outside; bring along blankets or lawn chairs (lawn chairs are particularly beneficial in areas with minimal light pollution); bring water bottles for hydration purposes and keep any bright phones or flashlights away from your eyes (hydration helps as well!). Hydrate before heading outdoors!

This total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon reaches its perigee, its closest point to Earth for the year, making it appear larger in the sky. Furthermore, it falls on Autumnal Equinox day when day and night are nearly equal length – combined together these events result in what’s commonly referred to as a “Blood Moon.”

Use this interactive map to find out when an eclipse will be taking place in your location. Simply enter your city or zip code, and it will provide a schedule that details when the Moon reaches maximum height above and below the horizon (thanks to French eclipse-chaser and cartographer Xavier Jubier!). As you move further westward, the more of a red Moon you may observe.

United States residents will begin witnessing an eclipse at 9:30 p.m. ET when the Moon starts moving into Earth’s lighter shadow, known as the penumbral. After another hour has passed, darkness will fall on it completely, turning its surface deep red as light leaks through Earth’s shadow edges – eventually becoming full darkness at 11:41 pm ET as the “Blood Moon.”

Europe and West Asia can view an equivalent map here. This lunar eclipse marks one of only four visible this year – its next will take place Oct 25 in parts of Africa and Europe only; 2023 brings two additional lunar eclipses; one will occur May 5-6 visible partially across Americas, Antarctica, Australia Asia plus Pacific and Indian oceans (Blood Moon).

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