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Harvest Moon at Perigee - Total Lunar Eclipse - September 27

Curt Renz

Well-Known Member
Mar 5, 2013
This year’s Harvest Moon will be shining during the North American evening of Sunday 2015 SEP 27. At that time the Full Moon will be at Perigee (closest to Earth for this lunation) which the media likes to sensationalize as a Super Moon. But most interestingly there will be a Total Lunar Eclipse visible in the Americas during that evening of the 27[SUP]th[/SUP] and in Europe and Africa during their predawn hours of September 28[SUP]th[/SUP].

I’ve created a panoramic graphic with data for nine phases of the eclipse: www.CurtRenz.com/moon.html

My predicted event timings are in CDT (UT-5). The events will occur at essentially the same real time for all observers experiencing nighttime, but time zone adjustments must be made for those outside of CDT.

For my graphics, I’ve placed a fictional blue wall behind the Moon to make obvious the Earth’s Umbra and Penumbra. The umbra is the dark inner shadow and the penumbra is the lighter fringe shadow. An astronaut on the Moon within the umbra would be witnessing a Total Solar Eclipse. If he were within the penumbra he would be seeing a Partial Solar Eclipse.

In my graphics, the Moon’s posted altitude above the horizon and angular positioning relative to the umbra are most exact for observers at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. Otherwise, the Moon will appear essentially same for all nighttime observers.

The darkness of the Moon and degree of redness during a total eclipse can vary. This depends on atmospheric conditions at locations on Earth for which the Sun and Moon appear at opposite positions on the local the horizon. An astronaut on the Moon within the umbra would see the dark night side of the Earth obstructing the Sun surrounded by a reddish ring of atmosphere. The redness is due to the Sun appearing on the horizon with its light being altered by traveling through much atmosphere for those locations on Earth.

An additional viewing treat that night will be the brightest asteroid 4 Vesta at opposition from the Sun and about 12° south of the Moon. At stellar magnitude +6.2 it may be visible to some naked-eye observers under dark skies during eclipse totality: www.CurtRenz.com/asteroids.html

Photos and descriptions of the eclipse would be welcome additions to this thread.

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