Total Lunar Eclipse and Supermoon

News: Two celestial events – Total Lunar Eclipse and Supermoon – together coincide on 26th May 2021.

Details:

  • Two celestial events will take place at the same time.
  • One is the supermoon and the other is a total lunar eclipse, which is when the Moon and Sun are on opposite sides of the Earth.
  • Because of the total lunar eclipse, the moon will also appear to be red. This is because the Earth will block some of the light from the Sun from reaching the moon.
  • The Earth’s atmosphere filters the light, it will soften the edge of our planet’s shadow giving the Moon a deep, rosy glow.

What is a Supermoon?

  • A supermoon occurs when the Moon’s orbit is closest to the Earth at the same time that the Moon is full.
  • As the Moon orbits the Earth, there is a point of time when the distance between the two is the least (called the perigee when the average distance is about 360,000 km from the Earth). Also, there is a point of time when the distance is the most (called the apogee when the distance is about 405,000 km from the Earth).
  • Now, when a full moon appears at the point when the distance between the Earth and the Moon is the least, not only does it appear to be brighter but it is also larger than a regular full moon.
  • According to NASA, the term supermoon was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979.
  • In a typical year, there may be two to four full supermoons and two to four new supermoons in a row.

Lunar Eclipse:

  • Lunar eclipse takes place when the Moon moves into the Earth’s shadow. The Earth has to be directly between the Sun and the Moon, and a lunar eclipse can only take place during a full Moon.
  • First, the Moon moves into the penumbra – the part of the Earth’s shadow where not all of the light from the Sun is blocked out. Part of the Moon’s disc will look dimmer than a regular full Moon.
  • And then the Moon moves into the Earth’s umbra, where direct light from the Sun is totally blocked out by the Earth. This means the only light reflecting off the Moon’s disc has already been refracted, or bent, by the Earth’s atmosphere.

Total Lunar Eclipse:

  • During this, the whole of the lunar disc enters the Earth’s umbra, so the Moon appears reddish (Blood Moon). This won’t last forever, though. After about 14 minutes, the Moon will move out of Earth’s umbra and back into its penumbra. In total, the lunar eclipse will last a few hours.
  • Red light has a longer wavelength than blue light, which gives the lunar eclipse its characteristic reddish colour. On Earth, we see the same effect during sunrises and sunsets, when the sky has a more reddish glow than during the day.