Last Lunar Eclipse until 2014

Look in the western sky Saturday morning before dawn, and if the weather is clear and you’re in the right place, you will be rewarded with the last lunar eclipse of 2011.

For just under an hour, the disk of the full moon will almost disappear, turning a dark, rusty red.  The catch for Americans is that you’ll miss almost everything unless you’re west of the Mississippi.  Totality — when the moon is completely consumed by Earth’s shadow — begins at 6:06 a.m. Pacific time Saturday, and ends at 6:57 a.m. Even on the Pacific coast, dawn will start to brighten the sky before the eclipse is over.

Still, if you happen to be up, a lunar eclipse can be a quiet, refreshing experience.  Depending on the atmospheric conditions where you are, the moon may turn a rich orange, or it may become hard to pick out in the sky. The reddish hue comes from sunlight that is bent by Earth’s atmosphere. As happens during a vivid sunrise or sunset, most colors other than red are absorbed by the air. Read More

Did You Know?
A lunar eclipse takes place when the moon, following its orbit around us, passes directly behind Earth as seen from the sun.  It is the opposite of a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the sun and Earth. Since the moon’s orbit is slightly tilted, the bodies do not align perfectly during most months — but the rules of orbital mechanics are such that in any given year, there will be at least two and no more than seven solar or lunar eclipses.

See Google’s Lunar Eclipse “Doodle” from June 2011

Full “Supermoon” Brightest & Closest to Earth This Weekend!


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Look to the skies this Saturday night, and you’ll see the biggest and brightest supermoon of the year!  In fact, says that the full moon on March 19th of this year marks the closest and brightest Earth’s moon has orbited the planet in eighteen years.
A ‘Supermoon’ is a term coined by astrologer Richard Nolle over thirty years ago.  It refers to a moon that reaches the perigee of it’s orbit around Earth at a nearly new or full phase.  The perigee is the closest point to Earth in the moon’s elliptical orbit.  When the moon reaches it’s perigee this Saturday, it will be 100% full, making the satellite appear bigger and brighter than it’s been in years. (
You may ask how a  “Lunar Perigee” is determined? A Lunar Perigee occurs when the moon reaches the closest point to Earth, as it travels along on it’s elliptical path.  Alternately, the moon is said to be at apogee when at it’s furthermost position.

The moon during lunar perigee is roughly 30,000 miles closer to Earth than at lunar apogee, or roughly 221,000+ miles away.

If you’re wondering what the supermoon will actually look like to the naked eye this Saturday night, has the pictures, courtesy of NASA

At the very least, when the moon rises at sunset in the early evening of March 19, it’ll probably produce a great photo op.