You may have heard a whisper of an upcoming stunning astronomical event – the combination of a Supermoon and a total lunar eclipse – and are wondering how, and where you can view it. Unfortunately, for us Kiwis the event will not be visible from our location on the globe.
A Supermoon (a perigee full moon) happens when a full moon occurs when the Moon is at its closest point in its orbit around the Earth (perigee). Viewed from Earth it will appear 30% brighter and 14% bigger.
During a total lunar eclipse, for more than an hour the Moon is darkened as it moves through Earth’s shadow. But total lunar eclipses don’t occur every year (the next is in January 2018), and the simultaneous event of both a total lunar eclipse and a Supermoon is even rarer. The last was in 1982, and the next will be in 2033.
This is also the fourth and final eclipse of a consecutive sequence of total lunar eclipses over the past two years (15 April, 8/9 October 2014 and 4/5 April 2015). This is termed a tetrad, which has recently taken on more intriguing connotations with links to the Jewish Passover.
This month’s eclipse will be visible from most of North and South America on September 27 and in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East in the wee hours of the morning on September 28. This means that it will occur while New Zealand is in full daylight. However, you can stay in the loop by watching live coverage of the event online. Tune in to the link below around 1pm September 28th (NZT) to catch the latest. It is an event not to be missed!
REMINDER: Daylight Saving begins this weekend, so remember to put your clocks forward one hour on Saturday night/Sunday morning (26-7th September).