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Moon Space

Tonight's Dazzling 'Supermoon' Lunar Eclipse: What You'll See 95

An anonymous reader writes: Astronomers are gearing up to spot a rare phenomenon, as a lunar eclipse coincides with a so-called "supermoon". Whether you think it marks the beginning of the apocalypse or is just a neat thing to look at tonight, Live Science has some tips and a timetable for best viewing in your area. The moon enters Earth's full shadow, called the umbra, starting at 9:07 p.m. EDT (6:07 p.m. PDT). The total eclipse begins at 10:11 p.m. EDT (7:11 p.m. PDT). Totality lasts an hour and 12 minutes, at which point a bright sliver of the moon will emerge and grow.
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Tonight's Dazzling 'Supermoon' Lunar Eclipse: What You'll See

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  • There's not gonna be any aliens. Did you expect me to say something different?
  • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Sunday September 27, 2015 @03:36PM (#50609247)
    Probably 100% cloud cover here on the mid atlantic coast.
  • Lots and lots of clouds.

  • by PvtVoid ( 1252388 ) on Sunday September 27, 2015 @03:52PM (#50609313)

    The concept of a "supermoon" was invented by an astrologer [wikipedia.org], and has exactly zero astronomical significance. The moon is slightly larger in the sky. Whooooaah.

    • And I suppose "Superman" is just a slightly larger human being.
    • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Sunday September 27, 2015 @04:50PM (#50609521) Homepage

      The concept of a "supermoon" was invented by an astrologer

      The word was coined by an astrologer, but no-one invents astronomical events. And it is an astronomical event, regardless of who came up with the word or why.

      And the term probably sees more far use these days without any connection to astrology, as here.

      • The concept of a "supermoon" was invented by an astrologer

        The word was coined by an astrologer, but no-one invents astronomical events.

        Every-one knows some-one who invented a coined spelling though :-)

      • The word was coined by an astrologer, but no-one invents astronomical events. And it is an astronomical event, regardless of who came up with the word or why.

        That sound you heard was the OP's point whooshing over your head. Nobody is debating that it's an astronomical event - only that it's a non-event, of no actual significance beyond generating media hype.

        • by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Sunday September 27, 2015 @09:06PM (#50610515)

          That sound you heard was the OP's point whooshing over your head. Nobody is debating that it's an astronomical event - only that it's a non-event, of no actual significance beyond generating media hype.

          It depends on what you mean by "actual significance." Sure, nothing is colliding tonight. No major astronomical bodies are being destroyed with the force of millions of nuclear explosions or anything.

          But astronomy is primarily an observational science. People who are interested in astronomy generally get all excited about "rare events," which generally happen at least once per month -- "ooh, there's a conjunction of X and Y!" or "this is the closest approach of X and Y for the next 18 years!"

          That IS what most amateur astronomers consider "actual significance." It's sort of like birdwatching -- where it's fun to spot something "rare" or whatever. (I'm personally not that into it, though I have found it mildly interesting in the past.)

          Anyhow, a total lunar eclipse -- while not that uncommon -- is already the most interesting astronomical event that laypeople can easily observe. I myself have been surprised by them a number of times -- I'm just driving along at night and happen to turn in the direction of the full moon, and there it is with the tell-tale orange-ish or red-ish hue, or with an apparent chunk out of it.

          This one happens to occur when the moon is somewhat bigger and brighter, so yeah, it's probably one of the most interesting and visible astronomical events that most people would ever bother to look at. Most other things that get even amateur astronomy buffs interested would require a telescope or at least binoculars and some knowledge of the sky. But any 5-year-old can point up tonight and say, "Hey Mom -- Look! The moon is red!! Cool!"

          Is that of "actual significance"? Depends on your definition. But it's at least mildly cool. And if it gets some kids interested in science, what the heck is your problem with it? It's not "media hype" to point out one of the most visible astronomical phenomena.

          • Having seen a total solar eclipse, and been out last night, I'm going to say that the solar eclipse is lots more interesting than the lunar, even with the supermoon. Seeing the dark side of the Moon surrounded by the corona is awesome.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      The concept of a "supermoon" was invented by an astrologer, and has exactly zero astronomical significance. The moon is slightly larger in the sky. Whooooaah.

      The "supermoon" may have little astronomical significance, but the moon has significant cultural significance. Many of which carry on to this day. We used to think the moon made us crazy, hence words based on the moon for crazy - lunatic, lunacy, etc.

      And there's other cultural significance, including terms like "once in a blue moon" (which was retro-de

  • by Arkh89 ( 2870391 ) on Sunday September 27, 2015 @04:18PM (#50609411)

    You can use Stellarium (http://www.stellarium.org/ [stellarium.org], or with the help of your package manager) to get a preview of tonight's sky at your terrestrial location (not accounting for cloud cover though). This includes a simulation of the actual eclipse.

    • You can use Stellarium (http://www.stellarium.org/ [stellarium.org], or with the help of your package manager) to get a preview of tonight's sky at your terrestrial location (not accounting for cloud cover though). This includes a simulation of the actual eclipse.

      Seconded. Stellarium is very good. My last purposeful use of it was to see the configuration of the sky on the winter solstice of 2012 (the one that got so much attention). It was 2010 or so at the time. Since then I've had fun just messing with it, having it fetch space telescope pictures for certain items, etc. It's gotten me more interested in astronomy.

  • GMT / UTC ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tomahawk ( 1343 ) on Sunday September 27, 2015 @04:36PM (#50609467) Homepage

    Once again, Slashdot firmly planted itself in US-only only land, completely ignoring the other 6billion+ of us on this little planet... *sigh*. At least these times cover Canada and South America, somewhat, even if only by accident.

    Anyway, for the rest of us:

    Partial eclipse begins at 01:07:13 UTC
    Totality starts at 02:11:12 UTC
    Maximum eclipse at 02:47:09 UTC
    Totality ends at 03:23:05 UTC
    Partial eclipse ends at 04:27:05

    Find these times in your local timezone here: http://www.timeanddate.com/ecl... [timeanddate.com]

    • What makes you think that the whole world prefers to use some time zone established by imperialist European powers for their own convenience?

      • Because it's not "American", most likely...

      • I would think that quite a few technical inclined people know how their local time zone relates to UTC.
        Very few outside the Americas know how their local time zone relates to Pacific Time or Eastern Standard Time.

      • by caviare ( 830421 )
        This is a good question. Here's the answer. UTC is never a daylight saving time. With UTC you don't have to be aware of the daylight saving time rules of a foreign country. You only have to be aware of when your own time zone goes on and off daylight saving. It does make it simpler to figure out mentally.

        This is particularly important for opposite hemisphere countries, which go on and off daylight savings time at roughly opposite times instead of roughly the same time.

        Many countries do change their da
    • oh no!!! you need to do some math to figure out what time it is!!!

      does it matter if they use easter, GMT or UTC? either way you still need to translate it to your local time
      • Indeed. So use the internationally agreed and recognised central time of UTC (or GMT) so people don't need to do extra maths firstly covering from some US based timezone back to UTC and then to their own.

        Your snarky comment really just proves the point that the US thinks only about the US.

        • well, we are on a US based website...... Yes people from other countries come to this site. so what? I dont complain when I go to the daily mail and in their articles they use their local time or if i go to a russian site they use their local time.
          • by Tomahawk ( 1343 )

            I would expect something like the New York Times, which is aimed almost exclusively at the US population, to use EDT/lbs/miles/etc. However Slashdot is aimed at an International audience -- whilst it maybe be a US _based_ site, it is not aimed at a US only audience.

            It is a site for nerds and geeks, which are typically people with a science-type background or interest, yet it constantly uses US terms as if it's only the US audience that matters*. And while I understand that many US readers might not unders

      • Yes it matters, and it shows your ignorance ;D
        I don't know what time Eastern time or Pacific time is, however I know that I'm 1 hour (summer time 2 hours) of from UTC.
        If you don't know how far you are off from UTC I hope you never have a job requiring that (pilot, captain of a boat/ship etc.)

        • on a us centric site, expect to see eastern, central, and pacific time.

          UTC is 4 hours ahead of eastern time.

          now you know
          • by Tomahawk ( 1343 )

            More correctly, (US) Eastern Time is 4 or 5 hours behind UTC, depending on whether you are talking EDT or EST (respectively). UTC is never before or behind any other timezone, all other timezones are before or behind UTC.

            Hence, EST = UTC+0500 and EDT = UTC+0400

            It's a minor, but important, distinction.

      • GMT has a universally known meeting. I don't have a clue what EDT, PDT or any of the US time zones even stand for let alone how many hours ahead or behind they are. On a site that is international in target audience they could at least have written (GMT-something) next to EDT. At least then it would be simple math

  • High clouds likely, west coast so low on the horizon (good for superman effect if not clarity) but twilight (bad). Also a ridge to the east and I don't feel like driving because my car needs work. I might not see anything at all. If money were no object I'd drive a rental camper out into the Nevada desert.

    • Yeah, it's looking a little too cloudy in these parts for a good viewing. :(
    • good for superman effect

      As is wearing underpants over pants and tying a bedsheet around your neck.

    • Update--actually didn't suck. Cleared the ridge in totality. Not the best LE I've ever seen; but enjoyed watching it slowly emerge and then was able to check on the fat crescent once in a while. The bright light when it was restored was also fantastic. Oh and yes, superMOON.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday September 27, 2015 @04:57PM (#50609539) Journal

    If you're plans for tonight's Super Blood MoonTM don't involve entheogens, nudity and a pagan ritual, you're just not trying hard enough.

  • And now I haven't had enough sleep for getting out of bed at 4am, slashdot really does waste time ;)

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