Rare Astronomical Event Gives Stargazers a Show Sunday Night

People around the world stepped outside of their homes or near their windows to catch a glimpse of the rare supermoon lunar eclipse that took place Sunday night.

CNN featured a video of Christians in Jerusalem gathering outside for the event. Praises were sung, prayers were said, and a shofar was blown during the full eclipse of the moon.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon enters Earth’s shadow, which often turns the mood a blood red color. A supermoon is when the moon is at its closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit. This makes the moon appear 14% bigger and brighter than normal.

The last time there was a supermoon eclipse was 1982, and it will not happen again until 2033.

Sunday’s lunar eclipse was also the final eclipse in the blood moon tetrad. Previous tetrads have occurred in key years of Jewish history, including 1492 when the Jewish people were banished from Spain, and another took place in 1948, the year of the Arab-Israeli war.

Rare Supermoon Eclipse Will Occur Sunday

What was already going to be a rare event with the closing of the blood moon tetrad, has turned into an even rarer occasion as stargazers will not only see a lunar eclipse but also see a supermoon on Sunday night.

A supermoon is when the moon is at its closest approach to Earth in its normal orbit. It will appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter and is approximately 31,000 miles closer to Earth. A normal total lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth, and the moon align, causing the moon to completely be in Earth’s shadow. According to NASA, having both a total lunar eclipse and a supermoon occur means that the moon will be at its darkest and its brightest in 2015.

While normal lunar eclipses can be seen about every 2.5 years, a super moon and lunar eclipse combination hasn’t been seen in 33 years, and another won’t occur until 2033.

According to Nature World Report, the best time to enjoy a full supermoon is shortly after the moon rises above the horizon. On September 27, at approximately 8:11 p.m. Eastern Time (EDT), the moon will begin to dim from the eclipse. NASA officials report the total eclipse will start at 10:11 p.m. EDT and it will last 72 minutes. Those in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, western Asia, and eastern Pacific Ocean regions will be able to see the eclipse.

No equipment will be needed to view Sunday’s astronomical event. Experts have reported that everything will be able to be seen with the naked eye.