On Sunday night people all across the United States will be treated to a sight that hasn’t been seen since 1982: The supermoon lunar eclipse is coming.
A result of two rare astronomical events occurring at the same time, a visibly larger, and red-colored moon will appear in the sky. The super moon lunar eclipse won’t occur again until 2033, so you won’t want to miss it.
Here are five answers to questions you may have about the uncommon lunar event.
When will it happen, and how long will it last?
The lunar eclipse will last one hour and 11 minutes, according to NASA. The eclipse will begin at about 8:11 p.m. EDT, at the same time on both coasts, when the earth will start casting its shadow on the moon. The total eclipse won’t start until 10:11 p.m., and is expected to peak at 10:47 p.m.
How does one watch the supermoon lunar eclipse?
The answer for most people is simple: Go outside and look up. However, if you live in an area experiencing cloudy weather, you don’t need to worry. NASA will be streaming the event from Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The stream will go live at 8 p.m. EDT and last until at least 11:30 p.m.
Why Will the Moon Look Bigger?
A supermoon is the result of the fact that the moon does not orbit around the earth in a perfect circle. It’s more of an oval, and at certain times the moon is closer to the earth. When a full moon passes by the earth at the closest point in its orbit, it appears 14 percent larger in the sky.
Why Will the Moon Look Red?
The moon doesn’t create any of its own light. When there’s no lunar eclipse, the moon reflects light from the sun. This Sunday that process will be complicated. The Earth is going to position itself between the moon and the sun, casting its shadow on the moon. Sunlight can still reach the moon, but it will have to bend around the earth. While that happens, almost every color but red is “filtered” out of the light, giving the moon its red appearance.
What is the Blood Moon?
Because of its red color, you may have heard the super moon lunar eclipse referred to as a blood moon. Luckily that nickname isn’t a sign of things to come. However a belief that the blood moon means the coming of the apocalypse was popularized by John Hagee, a Christian minister from Texas, according to a CNN article. Hagee wrote “Four Blood Moons,” in which he claimed that a sequence of four lunar eclipses — with Sunday’s being the final one — is a sign from God that a “world-shaking event will happen between April and October 2015.” Scientists quickly proved Hagee’s theory as false. As you’ll see Sunday, the lunar eclipses are harmless.