As you may remember, there were three supermoons not too terribly long ago. One was in December and the other two in January, and the upcoming total lunar eclipse will be the first one since then!

The supermoon trilogy, for those who might not be aware, ended with a lunar eclipse and thus we have been stuck in a gateway ever since. The time from one to another is a very energetic period. And not only will this be the first in quite awhile, it will also be the biggest of the century!

You do not need any kind of special equipment to watch but if you are in the US you won’t be able to see much of anything. It will be visible in places like Australia, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Totality is set to last around 103 minutes and during this eclipse, and when this occurs, the moon will appear to have an orangish or reddish hue.

A total lunar eclipse happens when the center of the Earth’s shadow passes through the moon. Because this occurs so near apogee it will as mentioned above be much longer than any other thus far this century. It just gives us another reason to take a peek at the moon.

Quartz reported as follows in regards to why the moon turns red during this time:

Moonlight is nothing but sunlight reflected by the moon. When the Earth casts a shadow on the moon during an eclipse, it blocks out direct sunlight. But the moon still has a faint glow, usually an orange-red hue that many call the blood moon.

It occurs because of a phenomenon called the Rayleigh scattering, which is also what gives sunrise and sunset its orange-red glow. As sunlight passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, it hits different types of gases and particles. The process causes shorter wavelengths of light (blue and violet) to scatter more than longer wavelengths (red and orange). It’s the longer wavelengths that are able to reach the moon and give it the eerie glow.

If you were on the moon when the total eclipse occurs, you would see a red ring around the Earth. “In effect, you’ll be seeing all the sunrises and sunsets taking place at that specific moment on Earth,” according to Time and Date.

Whether you can watch or not it is still quite an interesting phenomenon. Will you be observing this eclipse?

Image via Science Global News

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