So you probably heard on the news a bunch about Sunday’s Lunar Eclipse and how the moon is going to be especially close to us that day making it SUPER.
Just how close though? 31,000 km closer!
But will it actually make a difference? Actually yes it does make a substantial difference visually since the Moon is already so close to us. It will be 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter. Yeah you are going to notice!
So this is like SUPER rare right? kind of… This is no Halley’s Comet situation but the next chance you will get to see it happen is 2033.
Lastly why does it look red? If you have heard it is because of Earth’s atmosphere that would be correct. However, I think that is a lazy explanation because it is very intuitive to explain why. So you know how the sky is blue during the day? That is because our atmosphere scatters shorter wavelengths or basically catches the blue light given off the sun. The longer wavelengths pass through the atmosphere. Thus when we look at the moon it is only receiving the longer red wavelengths that are able to pass through Earth’s atmosphere.
Now the details!!
The partial eclipse will begin around 9:07 pm EST (1:07 am UTC)
Totality starts at 10:11 pm EST (2:11 am UTC) and ends at 11:23 pm EST (3:23 am UTC)
The partial eclipse will end at 12:27 am EST (4:27 am UTC)
If you want to start watching when the Moon enters the penumbra (or partial shadow of the earth) start watching at 8:40 pm EST (12:40 am UTC) and stop at 12:55 am EST (15:55 am UTC)
If you are uncertain about moonrise/moonset in your area and what you can see in your timezone, check out this great map by Sky & Telescope.
If there is bad weather on Sunday or the eclipse is happening while you are on the other side of the Earth, DON’T SWEAT!! The following links are from different organizations doing live broadcasts of the eclipse.
Slooh Community Observatory
Sky & Telescope
Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter