Be sure to stick your head outside to see a rare astronomical event the night of Sunday, Sept. 27, when a “super blood moon” rises in mid-eclipse.
Members of the Whatcom Association of Celestial Observers will have telescopes at Pioneer Park in Ferndale for everyone to observe the eclipse for free. They will be at the south end of First Street, between the parking lot and the Boys and Girls Club. The association’s events are canceled in the event of cloudy skies.
September’s full moon, usually called the Harvest Moon, is also a “super moon” because Earth’s satellite will be at perigee, the point closest to the Earth on the moon’s elliptical orbit. An eclipsed moon takes a deep red color, hence the term “blood moon.”
It will be a total lunar eclipse, with the moon first obscured by the Earth’s shadow, or penumbra, and then by the umbra, or the shadow of the Earth itself as the planetary disc slides between the sun and moon in space.
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The penumbral eclipse begins at 5:11 p.m. Bellingham time Sept. 27, but the moon will be below the horizon until 6:54 p.m. The full eclipse begins at 7:11 p.m. and will be visible in Bellingham if skies are clear. Maximum eclipse is 7:47 p.m., with the eclipse ending at 10:22 p.m.
For more information on the eclipse, go to earthsky.org/?p=51212 to find visibility charts and a graphic showing how the moon will look as it passes through various phases of the eclipse. The website timeanddate.com also has scientific and cultural information about lunar eclipses.