28th September 2015
For those willing to stay up a little past their usual bedtime, the night’s sky is offering up a little treat tonight; a Total Lunar Eclipse, which is pretty special in its own right. But not only that, it’s also a Supermoon, making tonight’s Supermoon/Total Lunar Eclipse combo something really special…
A Blood Moon
What is it?
A Supermoon is when the moon is at its closest point to the earth on its orbit, so it appears a little larger in the sky. A total lunar eclipse is when the Earth, Moon and Sun are all in conjunction, meaning they are all lined up in a neat row. The Earth blocks the Sun’s light from shining on the moon, meaning the moon first appears darkened as the eclipse begins, but because a little light creeps around the edges the Moon will appear to glow red.
The Supermoon combined with a Total Lunar Eclipse is a pretty rare occurrence and is often referred to as a Blood Moon. This is also quite a special Blood Moon, but it’s a bit of a heavy read… so we’ll leave it to the experts!
Not only is is rare in itself, but we’ve potentially got prime conditions for it tonight, with a light, low cloud cover due to clear after midnight, cold clear skies at higher altitudes and very few people in the area, meaning a complete lack of light pollution. Be aware the moon may fall behind the mountains if viewing from town level. A local altitude of at least 1600m (with clear sightlines) is recommended for a good view.
When is it?
Penumbral Eclipse begins: Moon begins to partially darken – 02:11:47
Partial Eclipse begins: Moon begins to fully darken/redden – 03:07:13
Full Eclipse begins: Redness and brightness increases – 04:11:12
Maximum Eclipse: The moon is as large and as you are ever likely to see it -04:47:09
Full Eclipse ends: Redness and brightness reduces – 04:47:09
Partial Eclipse ends:Moon begins to lighten/become grey – 06:27:05
Penumbral Eclipse ends: Moon brightens to normal Supermoon – 07:22:31
(times listed for Morzine, will vary in different locations and timezones)
If that’s not enough to tempt you to stay up/get out of bed at that time, it’s worth noting that it’s been predicted by several groups that tonight’s Blood Moon marks the start of the apocalypse and the world will descend into chaos and fire as the eclipse reaches its maximum. Surely that’s worth a look?