Total Lunar Eclipse of September 27, 2015

Sept 27 2015 Total Lunar Eclipse data adapted from F. Espanek
Sunday, September 27, 2015 - 8:15pm to Monday, September 28, 2015 - 1:15am

See: http://www.rascto.ca/content/lunar-and-solar-eclipses for additional information on eclipses.

[click on the image above for the full graphic]

Total Lunar Eclipse of September 27, 2015

On the evening of September 27, 2015, residents of the GTA and beyond will be treated to a Total Lunar Eclipse, an event that is safe to observe with unaided eyes, binoculars, or a telescope. This eclipse occurs during a so-called Supermoon, when the Moon is near perigee, and appearing slightly larger than average. At the beginning of the total phase of the eclipse, shortly after 9 pm, the position of the Moon will be in the southeastern sky and just under one-third of the way up from horizon to zenith. The dramatically reddened Moon will be fully immersed in the Earth's shadow (totality) from 10:11 to 11:23 pm. At maximum totality, occurring around 10:47 pm, the Moon will be 36 degrees (approx. 3.5 fist diameters at arm's length) above the southeastern horizon. Read on for details.

Officially, the Moon will begin the eclipse at 8:12 pm Eastern Daylight Time (or EDT) when it enters the Penumbra, or thin part of the Earth’s shadow – but during this Partial Eclipse phase it will be difficult to discern any change yet. The western (or left-hand for Northern Hemisphere observers) edge of the Moon will begin to enter the Umbra (the deep portion of the Earth’s shadow) at 9:07 pm. The Earth’s shadow will  flow over the Moon from east to west (or left to right) because the Moon is travelling east (right to left) in its orbit. From this point, the deep colour should become apparent in the shadowed portion of the Moon’s disk. You should also be able to notice that the edge of the shadow is curved due to the Earth’s round shape! The Moon will be fully immersed between 10:11 and 11:23 pm, and in the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow (or Maximum Totality) at 10:47 pm. At 12:27 am, the Moon will completely exit the Umbra, returning to Partial Eclipse until 1:22 am, when it escapes the Penumbra.

The redness of the Moon during lunar eclipses is caused by the Earth's atmosphere. All of the sunlight reaching the Moon during the total eclipse has had to skim the Earth's horizon, and is reddened the same way that sunsets are painted red.

Remember that this lunar eclipse is perfectly safe to look at, photograph, and use a telescope on. While you are observing it, take some time to notice the entire sky darkening, as if the Moon were absent. The eclipsed Moon will be situated between the constellations of Pisces to its east and Aquarius to its west. At present, these constellations are home to the distant planets Uranus and Neptune respectively. If you attend an organized viewing party, have an astronomer help you find them.

See: http://www.rascto.ca/content/lunar-and-solar-eclipses for additional information on eclipses.