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This past Sunday, Sept 27, at 7:51 p.m., a total supermoon lunar eclipse happened. This is more than just a great band name, it’s a rare, and really cool, astronomical event. Two things were coinciding.

The first event is a supermoon. The moon’s orbit is not quite a perfect circle, in fact, it’s perogee (minimum distance from Earth) is roughly 10% less than it’s apogee (maximum distance from Earth). A supermoon occurs when the moon is at it’s closest to the earth, making it look 12% bigger than usual.

Lunar_perigee_apogee

The second event was a lunar eclipse. The moon passed behind the Earth, passed through the penumbra (partial shadow), and into the umbra (complete shadow). As the moon got closer to directly behind the earth, it will fade to a deep shade of red. Once it enters the umbra, the only light reaching the moon will be light that passed through Earth’s atmosphere, making it red the same way sunsets are red.

This article was posted in the Catalyst, M-A Chronicle’s STEM blog devoted to discussing topics ranging from space to TV shows to artificial intelligence.

Photo credit Wiki Commons.

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