Lunar Eclipse with a Twist - WNEM TV 5

Lunar Eclipse with a Twist

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Skywatchers across the country will be given a real treat on Sunday night. A total lunar eclipse is set to take place but it will come with a rather unique twist this time around.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes into Earth's shadow during its orbit around our planet. In the case of a total lunar eclipse, the Moon passes entirely into the planet's shadow, and becomes nearly invisible for a short period of time before returning to view. As the process occurs, the Moon will often turn a deep shade of orange, or even red, due to the bending of sunlight passing through Earth's atmosphere on its way to the Moon.

What makes this upcoming lunar eclipse particularly interesting is that the event will coincide with a "supermoon," which is a full moon that occurs when the Moon is at its closest point to Earth. Due to the elliptical orbit of the Moon around Earth, its distance from the planet varies by approximately 30,000 miles during one orbit.

At its farthest, the Moon is typically around 252,000 miles away from Earth, while it closes in on 222,000 miles away at its closest point. This closest point, called perigee, can sometimes occur at the same time as a full Moon. In such cases, the Moon will appear slightly bigger and slightly brighter in the sky, but this can be difficult to detect with the naked eye.

The upcoming eclipse on Sunday, September 27 will be a rare unison of these occurrences. The last time that a total lunar eclipse occurred during a supermoon was 33 years ago, and it will not happen again until 2033.

As it stands right now, weather conditions look favorable for us to see the entire event here in Mid-Michigan.

The entire eclipse will take place over a roughly 4-hour period, beginning at 9:07 PM. Over the course of the next hour, the Moon will gradually turn an orange or red color as it begins to disappear behind Earth's shadow.

The Moon will then be completely eclipsed between 10:11 PM and 11:23 PM, before gradually emerging by roughly 12:30 AM Monday morning.

The event should be quite a sight, so be sure to take a look up on Sunday evening!

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