Friday 21 October 2016

Get set for the supermoon total lunar eclipse

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Published 25/09/2015 | 13:54

The rising full moon is seen from Valletta, Malta. Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi
The rising full moon is seen from Valletta, Malta. Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi
A woman takes a picture of a perigee moon, also known as a supermoon, rising in the sky in Madrid Spain. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
A supermoon rises over the Bosphorus bridge in Istanbul, Turkey. Reuters/Murad Sezer

There's a dark moon on the rise.

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An extremely special and very rare moon is set to appear in Irish skies this weekend.

On Sunday night/Monday morning, the full moon will be at its closest point to Earth in its monthly orbit while it also goes through a total lunar eclipse.

Read More: Are you watching the Supermoon tonight?

This kind of "supermoon" total eclipse won't occur again over our skies until 2029.

"It is one of the most spectacular sights in nature.

"A blood red moon will be hanging in Irish skies just before dawn.

"We are holding an 'Eclipse Watch in our Blanchardstown headquarters between 2am and 6am on Monday, 28th September.

"Ireland is one of the best places in the world to view this beautiful sight.

"Come along and you should probably book the following day off work," said David Moore from Astronomy Ireland.

Contrary to popular belief, during a total lunar eclipse, the moon isn't actually in complete darkness.

Read More: Spectacular illusion to light up Irish skies tonight

Instead, it can glow with a somewhat eerie red color because of the way sunlight shines through Earth's atmosphere and onto the moon.

The full moon on Sunday will also look somewhat larger than usual.

The diameter of the moon will be approximately 14% larger in diameter during the supermoon when compared to how it appears when the moon is at its farthest point from Earth.

The supermoon will appear about 30% brighter than a normal moon, NASA have said.

Scientists will avail of the lunar eclipse to take some special measurements of the moon.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will measure the moon's surface temperature as it is plunged into darkness to learn more about the structure of the moon and its composition.

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