Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How to See the September 28 Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

There is no denying that a lunar eclipse is one of the most beautiful astronomical phenomenon we witness on planet Earth. There's a lunar eclipse happening on September 28(depending on your location) and here's how you can see it.


What is a lunar eclipse?
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the shadow of the Earth(called the umbra) and for a short time changes in colour from the bright white full Moon that everyone's used to seeing into a beautiful reddish orange, before emerging from the shadow once more.

The Moon will appear to be tinted red because of sunlight passing through particles in the Earth's atmosphere hitting the lunar surface. It's the exact same reason why the sky appears red, orange and pink during sunset.
A visual explanation of the eclipse(Note: All times are in EDT)
credit: NASA

How to see it
You don't need any fancy equipment to view a lunar eclipse- no fancy telescopes or binoculars- just a clear sky and a view of the Moon.

Start observing the Moon at around 2 a.m. Irish Standard Time on the morning of September 28. The eclipse officially begins at 02:07 a.m. when our nearest neighbour makes first contact with Earth's umbra. At this stage the Moon will slowly begin growing reddish-orange in colour.

Mid-eclipse occurs at 03:47 a.m. The Moon will then exit the umbra at 05:27 a.m.

The eclipse will be fully visible in Europe, South/East Asia, Africa, much of North America, much of Central America, all of South America and much of Antarctica.

If you're clouded over or live in a part of the world in which the eclipse is not visible- don't worry- NASA will be live-streaming the whole thing which you can check out here.
We will also be live-tweeting pictures and videos of the eclipse from around the world so be sure to follow Irish Space Blog on Twitter.

What makes this eclipse of the Moon special is that it coincides with a Supermoon. A Supermoon occurs when a full Moon takes place while it is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit, called its perigee. As a result, the Moon may appear up to 30 percent brighter than average.
Astronomy Ireland said that the eclipse on the 28th of September would be "The best we'll see until 2029!"

So get the flasks, wooly hats and cameras at the ready for what promises to be one of the most beautiful astronomical events of the year!

Clear skies!

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