This coming Sunday night (September 27), observers around the world are set to be in for a treat as two celestial events combine. In a rare occurrence, the Moon will reach its closest point to Earth (known as a supermoon) at the same time as it undergoes an eclipse, the first such alignment since 1982 – and the last until 2033.
During the event, when the Sun will be directly behind us in respect to the Moon, the lunar surface will appear a deep red color. Lunar eclipses are fairly common, with 16 occurring this century already, but only five supermoon eclipses have taken place since 1900.
It will be best seen at every longitude from the U.S. to Europe, encompassing Central and South America, the U.K. and Africa. Observers in western Asia and Alaska will have a lesser view. Check out this map at timeanddate.com to see the best locations.
The entire event will last about five hours, but there are only about 70 minutes when the Moon will seem red. At 8:11 p.m. EDT on Sunday, the Moon will begin to enter Earth’s shadow, giving it a slight yellowish hue. From 10:11 p.m. to 11:23 p.m. EDT, the eclipse will reach totality, making the Moon appear a deep red, and at 1:23 a.m. EDT on Monday, it will exit Earth’s shadow.