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Total Lunar Eclipse meets Supermoon
Early on the 28th September, the 2015 Harvest Moon was a very special one. A Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox (which occurred on 23rd September, and is marked by Druids at Stonehenge). This was not just any Harvest Moon though, it was a Super Harvest Moon. That was because the moon reached its perigee to coincide with the Harvest Moon. The perigee is the closest point the moon gets to the Earth on its 28 day orbit. As the name might suggest, the shorter distance, between the moon and planet Earth, makes the moon appears larger and brighter in the sky on a Supermoon. The Supermoon also brings spring tides, meaning high tide will be higher and low tide will be lower in teh days following a Supermoon. What added even more magic to the Super Harvest Moon was that it coincided with the second total lunar eclipse of 2015.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth, moon and sun are perfectly aligned, so that the Earth casts a shadow over the moon. During a total lunar eclipse the moon appears red – hence it’s name: the blood moon. The red colour comes from the Earth’s atmosphere absorbing the other light frequencies, similar to the phenomenon which causes red sunsets.
Rarely, there were two lunar eclipses this year, the latest being the last of a tetrad of four lunar eclipses over two years. There won’t be another tetrad for another 20 years.
The next Supermoon will be on the 14th of November 2016. There will be a penumbral lunar eclipse on the 23rd of March 2016, though the next one visible in Europe will be September 2016. The 2016 Harvest Moon will be on the 16th of September 2016.
So that’s a Harvest Supermoon meeting a Blood Moon or Super Harvest Blood Moon explained! Unlike a solar eclipse, it is safe to view a total lunar eclipse with the naked eye. The post image was captured after 3 am on 28th September as the moon entered total lunar eclipse.
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