Sunday’s ‘Supermoon’ will turn blood red during eclipse

Here is what the moon looked like in a previous lunar eclipse. (Photo: DON WHEELER/LOUISIANA DELTA COMMUNITY COLLEGE)

In the cosmic realm, it’s a can’t miss event — a “Supermoon” turned blood red by a full eclipse.

“To say I’m excited would be an understatement,” said Greg Andrews, planetarium manager at Sci-Port in Shreveport and president of the Shreveport-Bossier Astronomical Society.

Sunday night will be the first time a Supermoon, a full moon that appears larger than normal because it’s closer to Earth than usual, has coincided with a total eclipse since 1982, and it won’t happen again for another 18 years. The Supermoon will appear about 14 percent larger than normal, according to NASA

And Don Wheeler, a meteorologist at Louisiana Delta Community College, said Louisianians from Shreveport to Monroe and Acadiana to Alexandria can expect relatively clear skies for a nearly pristine view.

“The great thing about a lunar eclipse is you don’t need any special gadgets or eyewear for protection like with a solar eclipse,” Wheeler said. “You just go out into your back yard and enjoy it.

“There may be a few pop-up clouds during the day but they usually go away when the sun goes down. That’s great because it has been really cloudy during the past couple of lunar eclipses.”

Wheeler said the eclipse with begin from the east at 8:06 p.m. as a dark shadow begins crossing the face of the moon, slowly turning it red.

“Sometimes it’s a really deep red,” Wheeler said. “That redness is caused by the sunlight bending through the earth’s atmosphere, which tends to let a lot of the red light through.”

By 9:10 p.m., Wheeler said, the eclipse will be total and remain that way until 10:23 p.m., when it will gradually recede to normal.

Andrews said the Astronomical Society has planned a viewing party for its members and the public at the Ralph A. Worthey Observatory about eight miles south of Shreveport.

“Another thing that makes it special is this is the last in a series of four lunar eclipses that were each six months apart,” said Andrews, who said the society will provide multiple viewing platforms for the public. Telescopes are also available for viewing.

“A full moon itself is beautiful to see, but to see it turn red is really amazing,” he said. “People have been sky gazing for thousands of years, but this opportunity doesn’t come up every day.”

Wheeler agreed.

“It really should be spectacular,” he said.

To watch:

  • Eclipse begins at 8:06 p.m.
  • Total eclipse from 9:10-10:23 p.m.
  • Eclipse ends at 11:27

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