All Eyes to the Sky for Tonight’s ‘Harvest Blood Moon’
Tonight's full moon will be anything but ordinary. In addition to being a "harvest blood moon," during this evening's lunar display the moon will be at its closest point to Earth in its orbit, making it a so-called "supermoon," according to space.com.
But there's more: people who turn their eyes to the sky in some parts of North and South America, Africa and Europe will also witness a lunar eclipse as the moon passes into the Earth's shadow.This will mark the fourth total lunar eclipse in the past 17 months.
Sunday’s supermoon eclipse, NASA explains on its website, will last 1 hour and 11 minutes. The eclipse will begin at about 8:11 p.m. EDT and a total eclipse should be visible between 10:11 and 10:47 p.m. EDT.
What makes this a "blood moon?"
Rather than making it's own light, the moon actually reflects the light from the sun. When a lunar eclipse takes place, the moon receives less bright as the Earth's shadow blocks the sunlight. The indirect sunlight that does reach the moon gets refracted and almost all of the colors except for red are filtered out, creating a moon that appears dark brown or reddish in color, according to space.com.
What, exactly, is a harvest moon?
The harvest moon was given its name because it's the full moon that occurs closest to the official autumn equinox, which this year, took place on Sept. 23.