September 22, 2015 2:56 pm
Updated: September 28, 2015 7:49 am

How to watch Sunday’s ‘super moon’ lunar eclipse

WATCH ABOVE: Timelapse of full lunar eclipse


It’s another ‘super moon’ month, but this time we get an extra treat: a lunar eclipse.

READ MORE: Get ready for September’s ‘super moon’ lunar eclipse

The lunar eclipse — which takes place on the evening of Sept. 27 during the Harvest Moon — will be visible right across Canada (if you’ve heard about the Sept. 28 eclipse, it’s the same one, just in Greenwich Time). And it occurs when the moon is closest in its monthly orbit, making it a “super moon” of an eclipse. Though likely not that perceptible to us, the moon will be roughly 13 per cent larger in the sky.

There will be events around the country where you can sit back and watch it for yourself.

The University of Toronto is hosting a Supermoon Total Eclipse Viewing Party at King’s College on the University of Toronto campus.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has events across the country, including Winnipeg, Richmond Hill (north of Toronto), and Mississauga. You can also watch it in Calgary.

But if you don’t want to head out to a public event, you can easily enjoy it at home. And you don’t need anything but your two eyes to enjoy it (though a chair might make it a bit more comfortable).

IN PHOTOS: Images of the ‘super moon’ lunar eclipse

First of all, you need to know that, unlike a solar eclipse, watching a lunar eclipse is safe. That’s because the moon is passing into Earth’s shadow.

There are different stages of a lunar eclipse: the penumbral, partial and total.

In the penumbral, the moon passes through Earth’s outer shadow. That stage is difficult to see.

As the moon enters the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, the real action begins. That’s when the moon starts to look like someone took a bite out of it.

A partial lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015, north of Toronto.

Nicole Mortillaro

Once the moon passes entirely into Earth’s darkest shadow, that’s when totality begins. This year’s totality lasts for one hour and 12 minutes (the entire eclipse will last three hours and 20 minutes).

The partial eclipse begins at 9:07 EDT (10:07 ADT; 8:07 p.m CDT; 7:07 p.m. MDT; 6:07 p.m. PDT), with totality beginning at 10:11 p.m. EDT (11:11 p.m. ADT; 9:11 p.m. CDT; 8:11 p.m. MDT; 7:11 p.m. PDT).

The various stages of the Sept. 27 total lunar eclipse

Courtesy Fred Espenak

When the moon enters totality, you might notice that it turns a coppery colour. That’s a result of light that is filtered out and refracted towards the moon.

Totality ends at 11:23 pm EDT (12:23 a.m. Sept. 28 ADT Sept. 28; 10:23 p.m. CDT; 9:23 pm MDT; 8:23 pm PDT), with the second partial eclipse (as the moon slowly moves out of the shadow again) ending 12:27 a.m. on Sept. 28 (1:27 a.m. ADT; 11:27 p.m CDT; 10:27 p.m. MDT; 9:27 p.m. PDT).


That’s the great thing about a lunar eclipse as opposed to a solar eclipse: you can walk out several times and catch the eclipse in various stages over hours.

If you don’t have clear skies, NASA will be broadcasting the eclipse on its Ustream Marshall Space Flight Center channel.

So try to get out there if the weather allows it. The next total lunar eclipse for Canada won’t come until Jan. 31, 2018. And the next super moon eclipse won’t occur again until 2033.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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