How It Works
A second full moon for the month of July is seen next to the dome of the U.S. Capitol on Friday, July 31, 2015 in Washington. In recent years, people have been using the name Blue Moon for the second of two full moons in a single calendar month. An older definition of Blue Moon is that it’s the third of four full moons in a single season. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Supermoon eclipse: How to watch this rare phenomenon

A second full moon for the month of July is seen next to the dome of the U.S. Capitol on Friday, July 31, 2015 in Washington. In recent years, people have been using the name Blue Moon for the second of two full moons in a single calendar month. An older definition of Blue Moon is that it’s the third of four full moons in a single season. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

An incredibly rare phenomenon will be occurring this weekend. For the first time since 1982, you can witness a lunar eclipse in combination with a red supermoon. The event will last for 1 hour and 11 minutes and will take place at 1.11am on Monday 28th September in the UK, and 5 hours early at 8.11pm on Sunday 27th on the east coast of America.

You don’t need any specialist equipment, but it is recommended that you have a pair of binoculars handy so you can see the moon’s detail in all its glory.

The moon will spend just over an hour passing into the shadows, with the last sighting of it at 10:11 ET (3:11 BST).

It will be illuminated once again at 11:23 ET (4.23 BST), and it will be completely out of Earth’s shadow at 00:27 ET (5:27 am BST).

Nasa is also providing a live stream from 8pm ET until at least 11:30 pm ET (4.30 am BST), broadcast from Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The live feed is an alternative for those experiencing less-than-optimal weather or light-polluted night skies.

This event won’t happen again until 2033, so make sure you make the effort this weekend to see it!

The full moon is seen as it rises near the Lincoln Memorial, Saturday, March 19, 2011, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

 

What happens during a ‘blood red’ Lunar Eclipse

During a total eclipse, the ‘blood red’ appearance is caused by the change in light refraction in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing the moon to appear red. The key to this red appearance is that the entire moon is in shadow, if it skirts the shadow the effect will be far less dramatic, in what is known as a partial eclipse.

When the moon first enters the Earth’s partial shadow, a dark shadow slowly creeps across the moon, making it look like it is changing phases rapidly. Once the eclipse’s peak has been reached, our planet’s atmosphere scatters the Sun’s red visible light, which reflects off of the moon’s surface and gives it a reddish colour.

This image shows the moon entering and leaving a ‘blood red’ lunar eclipse

 

For more incredible facts, make sure you pick up the latest copy of How It Works. It’s available from all good retailers, or you can order it online from the ImagineShop. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, make sure you subscribe today!

Plus, take a look at:

What is a supermoon?

Top 5 facts about the moon

What is a Blue Moon?