On Sunday 27 September 2015 the moon will have so many titles that you would think that it was a character in Game of Thrones (if it was we would expect it to die a grisly death soon). Blood moon. Harvest moon. Super moon! Eclipsed moon. And for those us on the coasts, we can also expect King Tides thanks to the supermoon! Whew! That’s a lot going on for one Sunday. Let’s try to break it all down.
The Harvest Moon is the moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox (which was this past Wednesday).
As the moon is being eclipsed on Sunday, it will have an orange tint to it. When it is fully eclipsed, it will be dark. Tell me oh tell me when the eclipsed happens, you say? I will. For those on Eastern Time in the U.S., the eclipse will begin at 9:07 P.M. Total eclipse will being about an hour later at 10:11 P.M. For those of you west of Eastern Daylight Time, subtract accordingly (e.g., for Central, eclipse begins at 8:07P.M.). So when the sun sets get outside!!
Not only do we get to see a Blood Moon and an Eclipsed Moon, but we get to see it in super HD! Tomorrow, the moon will be at it’s closet point of it’s orbit around the Earth, called the Perigee. As a result we will get a 14% bigger moon free of charge! What a deal! Disclaimer: the moon only appears bigger because it is closer. It does not shrink and grow as it orbits.
Below NASA provides a great summary of the greatest show not on Earth!
We know the moon rules the tides. We know that a moon in perigee is closer to the Earth and therefore has a stronger pull on the tides. And we know that spring tides (which happen every month) are the highest high tides. So when the spring tidal cycle lines up with the perigee of the moon, we get King Tides (known to us science dorks as perigean spring tides). And that’s what happens this weekend. King Tides produce the biggest tides of the year and can cause local flooding. So just after we see the Super Blood Harvest Moon Eclipsed, the feet of us in coastal areas will get a little bit wetter.
What a way to end September!