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Supermoon eclipse: What you need to know

A supermoon lunar eclipse. That’ll get most meteorology or astronomy hobbyists excited. In all seriousness, a lunar eclipse can be one of the more exciting celestial events. It has been a while since our area has had the pleasure of viewing one, so this Sunday’s lunar eclipse will come with open arms. Making the eclipse even better? The fact that it falls during a “supermoon”.

A supermoon is a full moon which occurs during the time period when the moon makes its closest approach to the Earth on its elliptical orbit. This results in the largest apparent size of the moon as seen from Earth, called “perigee”. The moon can appear up to 14x larger from the Earth during this time period.

The moon, during eclipse, will become fully enshrouded in the Earth’s shadow on Sunday Night. But this eclipse is known also as a “blood moon”, because of the light from the reddish glow of the suns light refracting through the Earth’s atmosphere. Instead of simply turning dark, the moon turns an eerie shade of red and orange.

The eclipse will be visible throughout North America on Sunday Night. The moon will first enter the dark part of the Earth’s shadow at 9:07pm, and will reach full eclipse at 10:11pm. We recommend checking it out and, if you have the time, even bringing along a small telescope or binoculars.

What about the weather?

The weather currently looks to be a huge wild card in viewing the Eclipse, especially along the East Coast.

A large and broad low pressure system will develop in the Western Atlantic Ocean, with a sprawling high pressure to our north.

GFS model showing high clouds on Sunday evening.

GFS model showing high clouds on Sunday evening.

This means that an onshore flow will be strengthening during this weekend. Clouds and some showers will be possible each day — but forecast models keep the bulk of precipitation to the south of our area on Sunday. Forecasts for clouds are extremely uncertain.

Some forecast models bring high clouds into the area starting Sunday afternoon, with thicker clouds obscuring the eclipse by Sunday Night. Others keep the clouds at bay until later Monday morning.

One thing we do know is that the weather will be unsettled. Stay tuned over the next few days for updates and information on whether the clouds will ruin the party!

 

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