It’s another “super moon” month, but this time we get an extra treat: a lunar eclipse.
The lunar eclipse — which takes place on the evening of Sept. 27 during the Harvest Moon — will be visible right across Canada, and 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 appear roughly 13 per cent larger in the sky.
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has events across the country, including in Calgary, and just outside the city at Glenbow Ranch Park from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Edmontonians can join in at the Observatory at TELUS World of Science at a special lunar eclipse event from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. weather permitting. The Lethbridge Astronomy Society is hosting an open house with more information on Saturday Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. and urges residents to head outside on Sunday.
“Glenbow Ranch provincial park is just between Calgary and Cochrane just off of Highway 1A, and so it’s an easy drive to get out there and it’s a great place to get a bit away from the city lights just to get a better view,” said Jill Sawyer from Alberta Parks.
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).
Unlike a solar eclipse, watching a lunar eclipse is safe. That’s because the moon is passing into Earth’s shadow. Another 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.
“8:47 p.m. is the middle part of the eclipse, however I would say the most dramatic part—I think—is when the moon is entering and exiting the darkest part of the shadow,” said Roland Dechesne from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. “That starts at about 8:11 p.m. and ends at 9:23 p.m. That’s when we see the deep reddish glow that envelops the moon during a total lunar eclipse.”
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.
According to Global Weather Anchor Jodi Hughes we should have mostly clear skies for the majority of the lunar event tonight. “Some areas in Central Alberta may have some light scattered showers-but for the most part the conditions will be good to allow you to witness this rare event. It will begin to be visible in Alberta at 7:21 p.m. and will end by 10:27 p.m,” said Hughes.