Sep 25, 2015 3:46 PM
Joe Knows: Super Total Lunar Eclipse
If you need a reason to look forward to the weekend, here's one. Sunday night, there's a "must see" celestial event in the evening sky. Over the course of three and a half hours, it will be unlike anything we've seen since 1982.
They are calling it the harvest blood supermoon total lunar eclipse. It is an extremely rare event that will be lining up right over our heads. First we have a full September harvest moon. Meanwhile, the moon is making its closest approach to earth in its orbit this month. So it will look -- about 7 percent larger and 30 percent brighter. It is a supermoon. We get 4-6 supermoons every year on average.
That's part one. Part two is where the total lunar eclipse comes in, as the moon passes directly behind earth and passes through earth's shadow. NASA says the partial lunar eclipse will start around 9:10 p.m. with the total eclipse beginning shortly after 10 p.m., peaking around 10:45 p.m. Unlike a solar eclipse, it's completely safe to look directly at the lunar eclipse.
During the eclipse, the moon will look red -- a blood moon. The reddish color is caused by sublight refracting through the earth's atmosphere on its way to light the surface of the moon. NASA says all colors of the spectrum are filtered out except red as the earth blocks the sun's rays.
If you miss your chance, it will be a while before you get a second chance. There have been just five supermoon lunar eclipses since 1900 and the next won't happen until 2033.