Tonight’s the night — a rare blood moon total lunar eclipse.
And you can watch it all live, as the supermoon turns blood red tonight during a total lunar eclipse September 2015.
Others will be live streaming it as well (see the end of this post for links to your favorite blood moon (supermoon) lunar eclipse live streams and feeds.
The supermoon will rise at about 6:30 p.m. CDT across Alabama. (Get moonrise times for other locations throughout the United States here.) The lunar eclipse will begin at 8:07 p.m. CDT (or 9:07 p.m. EDT and 6:07 p.m. PDT).
The total eclipse will last over a hour and begin at 9:11 p.m. CDT (or 10:11 p.m. EDT or 7:11 p.m. PDT)
Not only will there be an eclipse, but the moon will also be about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than usual — a supermoon.
Supermoons are not not rare. In fact this is the fifth one in 2015 alone. But Sunday’s moon will be the closest to Earth in all of 2015, coming within 221,753 miles of our planet.
Tonight’s supermoon is rare because of its timing with the total lunar eclipse. The last time it happened was in 1982, and the next time it will happen will be in 2033.
This eclipse will also bring about the fourth and final blood moon of a lunar tetrad that began in 2014. (A lunar tetrad is used to describe four total lunar eclipses in a row, separated by six lunar months or six full moons).
So it will be a skywatcher’s extravaganza. But what if the weather doesn’t cooperate?
There are many opportunities to view the eclipse online tonight.
The Marshall Space Flight Center plans to offer views of the eclipse from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, the Fernbank Observatory in Atlanta and other locations across the United States.
Here are other places to view the eclipse as well: Read the rest of this entry »
PopMech Editors: Say hello to the shortest lunar eclipse of the century. These stunning photos capture the blood moon as captured over Colorado, China, and New Zealand. For more, check out our original post on the early morning event.
— NASA (@NASA) October 8, 2014
I’ve been saying it since at least 2005, when I wrote on my blog:
More than once, the thought has occurred to me: “Man, it would be cool if there was a webcam on the Moon.” I mean, seriously, put an iSight up there, and rig it with some sort of long-distance Internet connection, and it could broadcast a live picture of the Earth, as seen from the lunar surface, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. How cool would that be?
I tweeted about it in 2010:
— Brendan Loy (@brendanloy)
And again last August:
— Brendan Loy (@brendanloy)
And last month:
— Brendan Loy (@brendanloy)
Well, guess what? IT’S ACTUALLY HAPPENING!!!
A telescope that is set to launch to the moon in 2015 will allow the public to go on the Internet and view the Earth from the lunar surface.
The privately funded telescope, known as the International Lunar Observatory precursor (ILO-X), was designed and built by Silicon Valley-based Moon Express Inc. …
“We want to win the Google Lunar X prize so that is somewhat driving our schedule,” Richards said, adding his customers want Moon Express to land on the moon before the end of 2015.
“So I would say sometime in mid-to-late 2015 is when we’d be looking at.”
Let me be the first to say: OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!
[Moon Express CEO Bob Richards] said the shoebox-sized telescope will allow people to see images they’ve never seen before because they will be taken from the lunar surface.
“Depending on where you are on the Earth you may be seeing the moon up in the sky, taking a picture of you, which would be kind of a heady thing to think of,” he added.
Richards pointed out that people on Earth will even be able to manoeuvre the telescope by remote control, giving them out-of-this-world access to galaxies, stars and planets.
“The other thing that you’ll be able to do is turn the telescope down to the lunar landscape and take pictures of the landscape that’s around the (Moon Express) lander.”
Yes, well, that’s all well and good, but as Nathan Wurtzel tweeted in response to one of my prior #PutAWebcamOnTheMoon tweets: “And we’ll check back on the mooncam…still nothing happened. This marks the 8278th day nothing has happened.” Heh. As Nathan suggests, the view of the lunar surface isn’t going to be the most, uh, dynamic aspect of this. The view of Earth is where the real appeal lies.
More specifically, the view of Earth during lunar eclipses is the holy grail. Because, of course, what we call a “lunar eclipse” is, from the Moon’s perspective, a solar eclipse — with the earth’s atmosphere refracting the Sun’s light and forming a “ring of fire” around our planet.
It must be an incredible sight. But it’s one that nobody has ever seen in the history of mankind.
NASA made Hana Gartstein’s artist’s conception of a lunar eclipse from the lunar perspective its “Astronomy Picture of the Day” in 2007 — that’s the image at the top of this post — and NASA also published, in 2003, a fictional account of a lunar colonist watching an eclipse live from the Moon in 2105:
For the next hour he patiently waited, watching the sun’s disk glide behind something big and dark: Earth. From the moon, Earth looked three and a half times wider than the sun. Sometimes Earth was amazingly bright, blue and cloudy-white. Today, though, the planet’s night side was facing moonward.
Finally, the sun vanished. This is what he had been waiting for…. Lit from behind, Earth’s atmosphere began to glow around the edges, ringing the dark planet with all the colors of a sunset. And from there sprung the Sun’s corona: pale white, sticking out like Jack’s sister’s hair when she rubbed her stockinged feet on the carpet back in the lunar habitat.
Jack cleared his visor to enjoy the view.
The ground around him wasn’t bright any more. It was dim and deep red—aglow with sunlight filtered through the edge of Earth’s atmosphere. All at once every sunset on Earth was shining down on Jack.
I want to see that on a webcam, dammit. And, if the Moon Express project succeeds, we will — soon. They’re targeting “mid-to-late 2015.” Well, there will be a total lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015, and another on September 28, 2015.
So, Mr. Richards, there’s your deadline. Get this webcam on the Moon by September 28, 2015. And do the other things.