The Supermoon, Harvest Moon, Tetrad-Completing Total Lunar Eclipse


Coincidences, coincidences, coincidences. It’s all coming together on Sunday for THE astronomical event of the year.

On Sunday September 27 sky watchers in North and South America, Europe and Africa will be treated to a total lunar eclipse. No big deal, right? After all, we had two lunar eclipses in 2014 and one earlier this year. It’s true, this will be the fourth total lunar eclipse in less than 18 months. These back, to back, to back, to back eclipses are referred to as a Tetrad and the eclipse on Sunday will complete the series.

But wait, there’s more: it will also occur during a Supermoon (the closest full moon of the year) and a Harvest Moon (the full moon closest to the fall equinox). The media loves coincidences like this, and social media might just explode. Some readers may interpret these events as signs from above, new doomsday prophets may portend, history buffs may delve into old records looking for the last time this occurred. If it gets people outside to look at the Moon, I’m all for it. Even without a doomsday, a lunar eclipse will not disappoint.

For me, there are three exciting parts about a lunar eclipse

  1. The anticipation. The Sun, Earth, and Moon rarely line up and getting ready for the occasion is half the fun. When will it happen? Where should I view? Who should I view with? It’s fun planning an eclipse party.
  2. The point of first contact. When you see the shadow of the Earth first show itself upon the lunar surface, it gives you chills. The alignment begins exactly as the astronomers predicted, down to the exact second, and you’re seeing it with the naked eye.
  3. Totality. When the Moon is completely in the Earth’s shadow it can turn eerie shades of —> Read More