Utah Skies: Super Moon And Solar Eclipse
On Tuesday, we will have the opportunity to see the third supermoon of this year. In combination with this full moon is the first and only total lunar eclipse for the year. A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth’s position is between the sun and the moon and therefore able to cast its shadow on the moon. As this eclipse progresses, it will change the color of the moon from its normal greyish appearance to an orange or reddish color.
This change in color is due to the earth’s atmosphere. As the light from the sun passes thru our atmosphere, the shorter wavelengths of light such as blue will be filtered out leaving only the longer wavelengths of light in the red and orange spectrum to pass thru to the moon. Other atmospheric conditions such as pollution or dust can also contribute to the change and brightness of the moon during an eclipse.
If you want to get out and see this lunar eclipse you will need to be where you have a clear seeing of the lower south-western sky. The eclipse will officially begin at 3:45 a.m. on Wednesday morning as the earth’s shadow touches the moon. At this time, the moon will be at around 19 degrees above the horizon. At 5:10 a.m. the moon will be totally eclipsed and should appear to be a nice orange to reddish color and will now be located only 8 degrees above the horizon. At 5:18 a.m. the eclipse will reach its maximum coverage and the total eclipse will end at 5:25 a.m. with the moon at a mere 6 degrees above the horizon. Shortly after 6:00 a.m. the moon will set.