On Sunday September 27th the coupling of a lunar eclipse with a supermoon event will take place. This coincidence is somewhat rare, with the previous one having occurred in 1982, causing some to fear the event as a sign of the “end times.”
Whether or not one is looking forward to it, the event is expected to be spectacular, with the best viewing available to those in the eastern U.S. Astronomer Mark Hammergren of Chicago’s Adler Planetarium commented, “It’s a way of connecting us to the universe at large. It gives us this view that there's a bigger picture than just what we're concerned with in our daily lives."
Observatories in the U.S. are holding special occasions to observe the phenomenon. The observatory at the University of Nebraska, Omaha has added telescopes with smartphone capability, which will allow visitors to photograph the event.
For those who can’t attend one of these functions, NASA will be live broadcasting the eclipse. Additionally, if weather and light pollution permits, backyard viewing is available.
The start of the eclipse will occur at 8:11 p.m. ET, with the total eclipse occurring between 10:11 p.m. and 11:23 p.m.
It is often called a “blood moon” because of the reddish tint, which occurs due to the scattering of sunlight through the Earth’s atmosphere. The same hues can be seen during a typical sunset or sunrise.
This eclipse will mark the fourth and final in a series known as a “tetrad,” with each prior eclipse having occurred on a six month interval.
Those predicting the apocalypse point to the coincidence between the recent tetrad and Jewish holidays, while (intentionally?) failing to realize that the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar.
If you do plan on viewing the eclipse, those in the southeast and Gulf Coast are expected to have cloudy conditions, and so may have to use the NASA coverage option. North of Massachusetts, skies are supposed to be clear.