Supermoon Lunar Eclipse: What Is It? Why See It?

Supermoon 2015
Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Most likely you have been hearing about the Supermoon Lunar Eclipse that is going to be happening this Sunday, September 27th. If you are not familiar with exactly what this is, then you may wonder what all the hype is about. Well I am here to tell you, this is something that you do not want to miss. Stay up past your bedtime, and let the kids stay up too!

 

What is the Supermoon Lunar Eclipse?

First, we need to understand what a Supermoon is. This happens when a Full or New Moon is at the closest point to Earth in orbit. When this happens, it is closer than average, which makes the moon appear very large. Seeing a Supermoon alone is not an uncommon event. On average, each year has around 4-6 Supermoon’s taking place.

Next, the Lunar Eclipse. In order to have a Lunar Eclipse, the moon MUST pass thru Earth’s shadow. There are 3 different Lunar Eclipse’s which is determined by where the moon passes thru the shadow. This will give you a┬áPenumbral, Partial or Total Lunar Eclipse. A Total Lunar Eclipse is visually stunning. This happens when the entire moon passes thru Earth’s shadow. The moon appears to turn to a “Blood Moon” with a dark red color. Each year there are anywhere from 2-5 Lunar Eclipses.

As you see, there is a lot that has to fall into place to have a Supermoon coincide with a Lunar Eclipse!

Why stay up and watch the Supermoon Lunar Eclipse?

This is a fairly rare event that is getting read to take place. The last time anyone has had a chance to see a Supermoon Lunar Eclipse was in 1982. If you miss this one in 2015, then you will not get another chance to see it until the year 2033.

Check out the video below for information on the Supermoon Lunar Eclipse.

(Video Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)