'Super blood moon' will give
a rare show...WITH VIDEO
If the week's ghastly
and gloomy weather clears out by Sunday night, sky watchers on Hatteras
and Ocracoke islands will be treated to not only a "supermoon" but also
to a full moon glowing with the reddish tint of a lunar eclipse -- a
so-called "blood" moon.
September's super blood moon is also known as the Harvest Moon, since
it's the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox.
A supermoon eclipse is a relatively rare celestial event. The
last one was in 1982 and the next one will not be until 2033.
The show which will be visible in the Americas, Europe, Africa,
west Asia and the east Pacific, will be the result of the sun, Earth
and a larger-than-life, extra-bright moon lining up for just over an
The 'supermoon' is the result of the moon being at its closest orbital
point to Earth, called perigee, while also in its brightest phase. It
will appear 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than when it's at
its most distant point from Earth.
The "blood" moon is so named because the moon does not give off its own
light, but instead reflects light it gets from the sun. During an
eclipse, the light from the sun is refracted around the edges of the
Earth. As it travels through Earth's atmosphere, almost all
colors except red are filtered out, giving the moon a reddish brown
There are biblical references to a "blood" moon as a prophet or omen of
the coming of the end of time, and contemporary Christian authors have
also referred to the "blood" moon as coinciding with either "trying"
times or the end of times.
The pre-game show, so the speak, will begin on Sunday evening at 8:11
p.m. with the penumbral phase of the eclipse, and the partial eclipse
begins at 9:07.
The main event, the total eclipse, begins at 10:11 and concludes at
The partial eclipse continues until 12:27 a.m. with the penumbral phase
ending at 1:22.
Unfortunately, the forecast for the Outer Banks for Sunday night is for
cloudy skies with a 40 percent chance of showers. The persistent low
pressure that has been hanging off the coast isn't supposed to get
blown out until late Sunday or Monday.
However, if the weather doesn't cooperate, we can still watch the
eclipse. NASA plans a live stream from 8 p.m. until at least
11 broadcast from Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.,
with a live feed from the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, Calif.
Mitzi Adams, a NASA solar physicist at Marshall will discuss the
eclipse and answer questions from Twitter.