September 27, 2015

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse: All the facts

Best grabs of the "Super Blood Moon"




And that's my amateur capture

Facts and information about the Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

Stargazers across the globe were in for a treat on Sunday - September 27/28. Here is why. The full Moon of September 27/28 is a Supermoon, which means, the Moon was closest to the Earth or at its perigee. However what makes it more special this time is that a "supermoon" coincided with a total lunar eclipse this Sunday, creating a beautiful sight visible to most of the world — particularly in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and parts of West Asia and the eastern Pacific. Watch this video by NASA to know the phenomenon better.



Fact 1: Supermoon Lunar Eclipse is a truly rare event
Total eclipses of Super Full Moons are rare. According to NASA, they have only occurred 5 times in the 1900s – in 1910, 1928, 1946, 1964 and 1982. After the September 27/ 28, 2015 Total Lunar Eclipse, a Supermoon eclipse will not happen again for another 18 years, until October 8, 2033.

Fact 2: Supermoon Lunar Eclipse is a global spectacle
For the first time in more than 30 years, you can witness a supermoon in combination with a lunar eclipse and this will be visible to most of the world — particularly in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and parts of West Asia and the eastern Pacific

Fact 3: Supermoon Lunar Eclipse to last more than an hour
Sunday’s supermoon eclipse will last 1 hour and 11 minutes. Weather permitting, you can see the supermoon after nightfall, and the eclipse will cast it into shadow beginning at 8:11 p.m. EDT. The total eclipse starts at 10:11 p.m. EDT, peaking at 10:47 p.m. EDT.

Fact 4: Its the "Blood Moon" night!
Throughout human history, lunar eclipses have been viewed with awe and sometimes fear. Today, we know that a total lunar eclipse happens when the full moon passes through the darkest part of Earth's shadow, the umbra. The moon does not make its own light; it reflects light it receives from the sun. During a lunar eclipse, the moon appears less and less bright as sunlight is blocked by the Earth’s shadow. As totality approaches, sunlight reaches the moon indirectly and is refracted around the “edges” of Earth, through Earth’s atmosphere. Because of this, almost all colors except red are “filtered” out, and the eclipsed moon appears reddish or dark brown. This filtering is caused by particulates in our atmosphere; when there have been a lot of fires and/or volcanic eruptions, lunar eclipses will appear darker and redder. This eerie -- but harmless -- effect has earned the phenomenon the nickname “blood moon.”

Image Source: NASA
Fact 5: The Super (big) Moon
A supermoon occurs when a new or full moon is at its closest to the Earth. Because the orbit of the moon is not a perfect circle, the moon is sometimes closer to the Earth than at other times during its orbit. When the moon is farthest away it’s known as apogee, and when it’s closest it’s known as perigee. On Sept. 27, we’re going to have a perigee full moon—the closest full moon of the year. At perigee, the moon is about 31,000 miles closer to Earth than at apogee. This proximity makes the moon appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter in the sky than an apogee full moon, hence the term "supermoon."

Fact 5: Challenge for Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)
Sunday's eclipse poses a challenge for the space agency's solar-powered Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has been orbiting the moon for over 6 years. LRO is not designed to operate during eclipses. NASA hence plans to heat the spacecraft up because it gets very cold during the eclipse, they also turn off all the instruments except for one. The sole LRO instrument that will remain operational is the spacecraft's Diviner, a radiometer that measures reflected energy off the surface of the moon. With LRO in orbit behind the moon on Sunday, the spacecraft will be out of sunlight for a little over three hours.

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