Super Blood Moon Won’t Make Another Appearance Until 2033

A lunar eclipse seen from Tokyo on Oct. 8, 2014. On Sunday, a super blood moon will be visible when the moon is at its closest to Earth at the same time as a lunar eclipse. (PHOTO CREDIT: Yoshikazu Tsuno/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)
A lunar eclipse seen from Tokyo on Oct. 8, 2014. On Sunday, a super blood moon will be visible when the moon is at its closest to Earth at the same time as a lunar eclipse. (PHOTO CREDIT: Yoshikazu Tsuno/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

A rare astronomical phenomenon Sunday night will produce a moon that will appear slightly bigger than usual and have a reddish hue, an event known as a super blood moon.

It’s a combination of curiosities that hasn’t happened since 1982, and won’t happen again until 2033. A so-called supermoon, which occurs when the moon is closest to earth in its orbit, will coincide with a lunar eclipse, leaving the moon in Earth’s shadow. Individually, the two phenomena are not uncommon, but they do not align often.

Most people are unlikely to detect the larger size of the supermoon. It may appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter, but the difference is subtle to the plain eye. But the reddish tint from the lunar eclipse is likely to be visible throughout much of North America, especially on the East Coast.

“You’re basically seeing all of the sunrises and sunsets across the world, all at once, being reflected off the surface of the moon,” said Dr. Sarah Noble, a program scientist at N.A.S.A.

Stargazers are excited. Though the celestial show will be visible by simply looking toward the sky, the Intrepid Museum in New York will host a free viewing from its perch at Pier 86 on the Hudson River with astronomers and high-powered telescopes on hand. The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York will be holding several free events in the city, including at the High Line, offering telescopes and binoculars for better views.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Daniel Victor

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