Supermoon Eclipse this Sunday

Contrary to what it sounds like, this is not another installment in the Twilight series, so no need to groan or pull out your Team Edward/Jacob shirts. Instead, Sunday night will be the perfect time to take a study break and go outside for some star, or rather, moon-gazing.

For the first time in 30 years, a supermoon will be fully eclipsed.

What does this mean?

A supermoon on its own is an impressive sight: every now and again the moon’s orbit brings it so near to the earth that it appears much bigger and brighter than usual, and a supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon in this close range of orbit. Sunday night, this will be the year’s closest (and thus biggest and brightest) supermoon.

Nope, not photoshop.

Then to kick it up a notch, the earth will line up just perfectly to fully eclipse the moon, which will give it a stunning reddish hue.  This will also be the last of the “blood moons” that make up the lunar tetrad (group of four lunar eclipses) of 2014 and 2015.

Now imagine this, but bigger. And better. 

A supermoon and a lunar eclipse won’t coincide again until 2033.

How can I see it?

At a little after 8pm Sunday night, the eclipse will start, but the total eclipse starts two hours later around 10pm and lasts for another full hour.  There should be plenty of opportunity to take a break from studying, meetings, and Netflix to pop outside and check it out. 

For more avid skywatchers, some good places on campus to view the eclipse could be the Union patio, Chambers lawn, or—my area of choice—the IMACs (for best results, bring a towel to lounge on).

The only thing that may disrupt our viewing is the rain that’s forecast for Sunday.  Let’s all cross our fingers and hope the skies are clear by the time 10pm rolls around! 

Rain, rain, go away, come again when there's no supermoon eclipse.