Pacific readies for ‘Super Blood Moon’ celestial show

May 26, 2021 People's Journal 123 views

AFP, May 25 — Stargazers across the Pacific Rim can cast their eyes skyward on Wednesday night and behold a “Super Blood Moon”, as the heavens align to bring a rare celestial twin treat.

The first total lunar eclipse in two years is happening at the same time as the moon is closest to Earth, in what astronomers say will be a once-in-a-decade show.

If the skies are clear, anyone living between Australia and the central United States will be able to see an enormous, bright, orangey-red moon.

The main event will be between 1111-1125 GMT — late evening in Sydney and pre-dawn in Los Angeles — when the moon will be entirely in the Earth’s shadow.

The moon will darken and turn red — a result of sunlight refracting off the Earth’s rim onto the lunar surface — basking our satellite in a sunrise- or sunset-tinged glow.

Unlike a solar eclipse, the phenomenon will be safely visible to the naked eye.

This eclipse will be different because it happens during a “super moon”, when the moon passes a mere 360,000 kilometres (225,000 miles) from Earth.

At that point, it can appear 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than at its farthest point — a difference of around 50,000 kilometres (30,000 miles).

“Interest has been high,” said Andrew Jacobs curator of astronomy at Sydney Observatory, who is hosting a Covid-safe viewing event with telescopes and expert speakers. “I’m expecting a clear night.”