Better get somewhere dark this Sunday; the moon is going to put on a show you won’t forget.
Rather than seeing a big, bright orb of white hanging in the night sky this weekend, the moon will take on a blood-red hue as it tucks itself into Earth’s massive shadow. Since Sunday will also set the stage for a supermoon, the red sphere will appear much larger than normal. That means a lunar eclipse and a supermoon will be occurring simultaneously–something Earth hasn’t seen since 1982.
You wont want to miss this one, either. Because if you do, it’ll be an 18 year wait before your second chance, as NASA predicts this won’t be happening again until 2033.
That leaves the obvious question: What can you do to make sure you see it? The good news there is, the supermoon eclipse should be visible from anywhere in the country (although the west coast will only be able to witness about half of the whole show). A partial eclipse will become visible around 9:07 p.m. ET on Sunday (Sept. 27), with the total eclipse following about an hour later. The whole show should last until right around 1 a.m. Monday.
And yes, it’s all safe to view with the naked eye. All you need is a blanket to lie down on, and maybe a cup of hot chocolate to stay warm.
For the uninitiated, this is a whole lot of lunar activity all at once, so we’ll break it down for you. A supermoon occurs when the moon makes its closest pass to Earth in its orbit, making it appear about 14 per cent larger than normal. A lunar eclipse, on the other hand, occurs when the moon passes completely into the Earth’s shadow, giving it a reddish tint.
When both of those things occur at the same time, you have yourself a supermoon eclipse.