Dr. Albert Lozano-Nieto, Director of Academic Affairs and Dr. Violet Mager, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy are pleased to announce a Supermoon Total Eclipse Party to be held on Sunday, September 27th at Penn State Wilkes-Barre's Friedman Observatory.
A supermoon occurs when a full or new Moon is at its closest distance to the Earth in its orbit, making it appear larger than usual in our sky. A full supermoon occurs roughly every 14 months. A total eclipse of the Moon (or "Blood Moon" due to its red color) is rarer, and occurs when the Moon passes completely into the shadow of the Earth cast by the Sun. It is particularly rare for both of these events to occur at the same time. The last occurrence of a total eclipse of a supermoon was 1982, and the next one will not occur until 2033.
Penn State Wilkes-Barre's Supermoon Total Eclipse Party will begin at 9:00 p.m. and last until approximately midnight. The party will be free of charge and open to all members of the public. The partial eclipse begins at 9:07 p.m. with the total eclipse to follow at 10:11p.m. Activities will include: eclipse viewing in the sky and/or via live broadcast in the Bell Center for Technology, educational information about the Moon & eclipses, telescope viewing of astronomical objects (if a clear sky is present), and a children's coloring contest (winners announced at 11:00 p.m.). Refreshments will be provided.
"This Moon is also special because it is a Harvest Moon, which is the closest full Moon to the Autumnal Equinox (the first day of Fall)," explains Mager. "Additionally, this eclipse is special because it is the last in a series of four eclipses occurring in a row every 6 months, a 'Lunar tetrad.' The timing of this particular tetrad has led to some doomsday claims of the end of the world, although there is no scientific evidence to support this."