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Total Lunar Eclipse Weekend

Total Lunar Eclipse Weekend

On Sunday, September 27, there will be a spectacular total lunar eclipse over the Bay Area and you may be able to see it if the weather cooperates.

The eclipse will appear at a different time (and even on a different day) in other parts of the world. You can check here to learn when it's coming your way. 

In the Bay Area:

  • Sun sets at 6:59 p.m.

  • Totality starts 7:13 p.m.

  • Totality ends 8:22 p.m.

(Video courtesy of NASA)

There will be a free viewing party open to the public on the east end of Pier 15, where the Exploratorium is located. The party is hosted by the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers (SFAA). There will be telescopes set up and astrophotographers present.

This eclipse will be magnificent, weather permitting, because it's happening on an early Sunday evening during one of the most hardly-strictly-cloudless times of year in the Bay Area. Also, the position of the eclipse means it should be a great photo opportunity. The Moon will rise due east, in complete totality, with the Bay Bridge, Port of Oakland, and East Bay hills in the foreground.

You may have heard that there will be a 'Supermoon' on Sunday, but I don't think you will notice. Why? Try this:

Take a nickel (round, silvery, and visaged, it is a good stand-in for the Moon) and place it 7 feet, 8 inches away from you. Check it out. That's what the Moon's apparent diameter looks like on average. Now move the nickel to 7 feet, half an inch away. Now move it 8 feet, 2 inches away. That is what the Moon's apparent diameter looks like with a 'Supermoon' and 'Minimoon', respectively. A 14% increase from smallest to largest, yes, but very hard to notice unless they happen simultaneously.

The Moon will also be red. The name Blood Moon, however, is not a recognized scientific term. Neither is Harvest Moon for that matter, so call it what you want. Apocalypses or vegetables, you decide. It is, however, the fourth and final total eclipse of a tetrad and the 26th sequential eclipse of Saros Cycle 137.

Clear skies!

 

(Video courtesy of NASA)