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September 27-28 Total Eclipse of the Harvest Moon

Posted 9/23/2015 12:09 AM by Marta Lindsay | Comments

There is a total eclipse of the moon on the night of September 27-28, 2015. It happens to be the closest supermoon of 2015. It’s the Northern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon, or full moon nearest the September equinox. It’s the Southern Hemisphere’s first full moon of spring. This September full moon is also called a Blood Moon and the fourth and final eclipse of a lunar tetrad: four straight total eclipses of the moon, spaced at six lunar months (full moons) apart. Phew!

The full moon nearly always appears coppery red during a total lunar eclipse. That’s because the dispersed light from all the Earth’s sunrises and sunsets falls on the face of the moon at mid-eclipse. Thus the term blood moon can be applied to any and all total lunar eclipses. Astronomy writers often say a totally eclipsed moon looks blood red. Why? Mainly because it sounds dramatic, and a lunar eclipse is a dramatic natural event.

Lunar_eclipse_April_15_2014_California_Alfredo_Garcia_Jr1.jpg

April 2014 lunar eclipse by Alfredo Garcia Jr., California.

Watch the full-looking moon on the night of September 27-28 to rise in the east as the sun goes down. Like any full moon, the Northern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon will shine all night long. It’ll soar highest in the sky around midnight and will set in the west around sunrise. Technically, the moon turns full at a well-defined instant: when it’s opposite the sun in ecliptic longitude.

That instant happens on September 28, 2015 at 2:51 UTC. At our U.S. time zones, that places the precise time of full moon on September 27 at 10:51 p.m. EDT, 9:51 p.m CDT, 8:51 p.m. MDT or 7:51 p.m. PDT. At that time, because there’s an eclipse happening, the moon will be totally submerged in the Earth’s dark umbral shadow.

The total lunar eclipse is visible from the most of North America and all of South America after sunset September 27. A partial lunar eclipse can be seen after sunset September 27 from western Alaska.

Eclipse - Mountain Daylight Time (September 27, 2015)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 7:07 p.m. MDT on September 27
Total eclipse begins: 8:11 p.m. MDT
Greatest eclipse: 8:47 p.m. MDT
Total eclipse ends: 9:23 p.m. MDT
Partial eclipse ends: 10:27 p.m. MDT

For more information visit: EarthSky.org

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