There’s a very special space event taking place this weekend, one that hasn’t happened since 1982 (and won’t again until 2033).
NASA explains what to expect from Sunday’s supermoon eclipse:
Throughout human history, lunar eclipses have been viewed with awe and sometimes fear. Today, we know that a total lunar eclipse happens when the full moon passes through the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, the umbra.
Sunday’s supermoon eclipse will last 1 hour and 11 minutes, and will be visible to North and South America, Europe, Africa, and parts of West Asia and the eastern Pacific. Weather permitting, you can see the supermoon after nightfall, and the eclipse will cast it into shadow beginning at 8:11 p.m. EDT. The total eclipse starts at 10:11 p.m. EDT, peaking at 10:47 p.m. EDT.
The moon does not make its own light; it reflects light it receives from the sun. During a lunar eclipse, the moon appears less and less bright as sunlight is blocked by the Earth’s shadow. As totality approaches, sunlight reaches the moon indirectly and is refracted around the “edges” of Earth, through Earth’s atmosphere. Because of this, almost all colors except red are “filtered” out, and the eclipsed moon appears reddish or dark brown. This filtering is caused by particulates in our atmosphere; when there have been a lot of fires and/or volcanic eruptions, lunar eclipses will appear darker and redder. This eerie — but harmless — effect has earned the phenomenon the nickname “blood moon.”
To mark the special event, NASA will live stream the eclipse from 8-11pm ET.