How To Watch The Rare Simultaneous Supermoon & Lunar Eclipse This Week
This week, sky gazers will be able to observe the rare simultaneous occurrence of a supermoon and a lunar eclipse.
A total lunar eclipse hasn’t coincided with a supermoon in nearly six years, and the next total lunar eclipse won’t be visible again in North America until May 2022, making this a very unusual occurence.
This phenomenon is due to take place on May 26, and looks set to be a truly dazzling display. This will mark the first lunar eclipse in more than two and a half years.
Any full or new moon that comes within 90% of perigee – its closest approach to Earth – can be described as a supermoon. The full moon on May 26 will be just 157 kilometres (98 miles) closer to our planet than the supermoon observed in April, according to NASA.
A lunar eclipse happens when the moon’s orbits brings it into the Earth’s shadow, blocking out light from the sun’s light. The light from sunrises and sunsets on Earth is instead reflected on the moon, giving it a reddish appearance.
However, although the supermoon will take place across the globe, the total lunar eclipse may only be visible throughout parts of the western Americas. A partial lunar eclipse will take place in large areas of the US and eastern Americas, and within regions of east Asia.
Bill Cooke, of the NASA Meteoroid Environments Office, said:
Folks in Hawaii and the Aleutian Islands will get to see the entirety of this eclipse – it will be quite a show for them.
The total eclipse phase can be seen near moonset in the western US and Canada and throughout Mexico, as well as in most of Central America and Ecuador, western Peru, and southern Chile and Argentina.
The entirety of the eclipse can be seen throughout eastern Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii.
Amateur astronomers don’t need special glasses to check out the lunar eclipse, as they would with a solar eclipse, and just have to go outside and look to the skies. However, a pair of binoculars will give you a more detailed view.
According to NASA:
The eclipse is set to begin May 26 at 1:46 a.m. PDT, with the Moon entering the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow at 2:45 a.m. Part of it will remain in the umbra until 5:53 a.m. To catch totality – the period when all of the Moon’s surface is blanketed by the Earth’s dark shadow – look up between 4:11 and 4:26 am.
Definitely not one to miss.
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