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Super Blood Moon, 27 Sep 2015

Super Blood Moon, 27 Sep 2015

Yesterday’s Super Blood Moon, captured over Los Angeles from Runyon Canyon.

A full moon, harvest moon, super moon, and total eclipse of the moon— this one had it all. (Including clouds… ah, nature.)

As with all lunar eclipses, the region of visibility for Sunday’s blood-moon lunar eclipse encompassed more than half of our planet. Nearly 1 billion people in the Western Hemisphere, nearly 1.5 billion throughout much of Europe and Africa and perhaps another 500 million in western Asia were, weather permitting, able to watch as the Harvest Full Moon became a shadow of its former self and morphed into a glowing coppery ball. The Sept. 27 event was therefore being called a “supermoon eclipse,” with the hashtag #SuperBloodMoon trending strongly on social media. The last such eclipse happened in 1982, and the next won’t occur until 2033.

Lunar eclipses actually begin when the moon enters the faint outer portion, or penumbra, of the Earth’s shadow. The penumbra, however, is all but invisible to the eye until the moon becomes deeply immersed in it. Sharp-eyed viewers may get their first glimpse of the penumbra as a delicate shading on the left part of the moon’s disk about 15 minutes before the start of the partial eclipse (when the round edge of the central shadow, or umbra, first touches the moon’s left edge). During the partial eclipse, the penumbra should be readily visible as a dusky border to the dark umbral shadow. The reason the moon can be seen at all when totally eclipsed is that sunlight is scattered and refracted around the edge of the Earth by the planet’s atmosphere. To an astronaut standing on the moon during totality, the sun would be hidden behind a dark Earth outlined by a brilliant red ring of all of the world’s sunrises and sunsets.

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