Where to Watch the Rare Supermoon Eclipse on Sunday

Where to Watch the Rare Supermoon Eclipse on SundayEXPAND
photo by Fernando de Gorocica via Wikimedia Commons

A lunar eclipse is nothing rare or uncommon, but come Sunday, thanks to the position of the Earth in relation to the moon, we'll be getting a glimpse of the rare supermoon eclipse. How rare is a supermoon eclipse? There have only been five of them since 1900, and according to NASA, this Sunday will be the last one until the year 2033.  

A supermoon isn't a moon on steroids or hit by gamma rays. The term derives from when a full moon makes its closest approach to Earth on its elliptical orbit. This makes it appear bigger — about 14 percent bigger. Now, add the Earth's shadow to that supermoon and you've got the rare celestial event we'll all be taking in this Sunday (weather permitting).

"A lunar eclipse is always a fun event," Susan Barnett, director of the Buehler Planetarium & Observatory in Broward College, tells New Times. "This one just happens to be very unique because it happens to be a supermoon."

The eclipse itself is a slow one and is expected to last about a little over an hour from start to finish.

"The first visible partial phase will begin at 9:06 p.m.," Barnett says. "Total eclipse is 10:10, and the shadow won't start to leave until 11:24, with the final partial phase coming at 12:27. It's a long one."

Several planetariums will be hosting watch parties on Sunday. Nova Southeastern University will have a free Supermoon Total Eclipse Party from 9:30 to 11 p.m. The watch party will be held at the main campus, in the quad in front of the Alvin Sherman Library, 3301 College Ave., in Fort Lauderdale.

The Fox Observatory at Markham Park in Sunrise will also be open. It's encouraging stargazers to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and picnic gear.

Barnett says that the supermoon eclipse is a good opportunity to get friends and family together for a viewing party and that visiting a planetarium isn't necessary to enjoy the spectacle. 

"What's most important is to be somewhere where you can see the moon," she says, "somewhere where there aren't trees or buildings blocking the view. The beach is always a good place to visit during an eclipse."

Barnett says the thing to look for is the way the moon changes colors.

"As the moon falls into the shadow of the Earth, the sunlight is bent through the atmosphere and blue light is filtered out, giving the moon a copper color. Depending on the atmosphere, sometimes the color is copper, sometimes it takes on a more rusted look, and sometimes even darker."

For now, the only thing that may hamper the view is the weather. Forecasters are saying there's a 30 percent chance of rain and clouds during the supermoon eclipse.

Still, the odds are good that the conditions will be favorable enough to catch a glimpse of something that's happened in the sky only in 1910, 1928, 1946, 1964, and 1982 since 1900. You won't want to miss it.


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