The last time a supermoon lunar eclipse graced the night’s sky was 1982. 35 years later and the moon, Earth and sun are lined up just right for another supermoon lunar eclipse.
Unfortunately, mother nature is throwing some literal rain on the sky viewing parade. Across large swaths of the southeast and mid-Atlantic, the cloudy weather is hanging strong. You’re going to need some luck to view tonight’s supermoon lunar eclipse. Here’s how the supermoon lunar eclipse visibility breaks down courtesy of AccuWeather.
The best viewing conditions will be in the midwest and southwest. The extreme northeast will also have clear skies. Those of you living in the yellow areas should have a good chance of viewing the eclipse.
Not sure what time to head outside? If you live in the Central Time Zone, the peak will be at 9:47 pm CT. Head on over to TimeandDate to find out what time you should go outside near you.
It’s cloudy, what do I do?
I feel your pain. It’s cloudy for me too. Lucky for us, NASA has our backs. Starting at 8:00 p.m. ET and lasting until at least 11:30 p.m. ET NASA will have a live feed of the supermoon lunar eclipse. Since it’s cloudy at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, NASA will use the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California for the live feed.
If you end up missing tonight’s show, you’ll have to wait until 2033 to see another supermoon lunar eclipse.
Three Supermoon Lunar Eclipse Facts
Tonight’s moon will be at perigee. On average, the moon sits about 238,000 miles away from us. But the moon’s orbit isn’t a perfect circle. It’s an ellipse. Tonight, the moon will be just 225,804 miles away. And it will appear about 14% bigger than usual. The opposite of perigee is apogee, the most distant point of the moon’s orbit. At apogee, the moon is 251,968 miles from Earth.
The sixth supermoon lunar eclipse since 1900. Total lunar eclipses aren’t all that rare. 81 total lunar eclipses occurred in the 20th century. But supermoon lunar eclipses are. Tonight’s supermoon lunar eclipse will be just the sixth since 1900. The last five happened in 1910, 1928, 1946, 1964 and 1982.
The reason behind the moon’s reddish hue. I’ll let NASA explain: The reason why the Moon turns red during a total lunar eclipse is related to why we have such beautiful pink, orange, and red sunrises and sunsets to enjoy. When we see a sunrise or sunset from our perspective on Earth, sunlight is coming in at a low angle. It has to travel through a lot of atmosphere, scattering more and more blue-colored light as it goes … until what is left when the light reaches us at these day/night transition times is the more reddish wavelengths that get through.