There will be a supermoon lunar eclipse this Sunday September 27, and it's every bit as rad as it sounds.
This is a rare occurrence — the last one happened in 1982 and it won't be seen again until 2033 — which means everyone should take a trip outside this weekend to look up at the night sky.
The good folks at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center have produced a video, explaining why this phenomenon is so special, and why we should all look up.
The moon doesn't orbit the Earth in a perfect circle; it's a bit oblong. When a full moon coincides with the perigee (the part of the orbit where the moon is closest to the Earth), it looks about 14 percent larger than a typical full moon. Though this might not make the most incredible difference to its size, this type of full moon has been dubbed a "supermoon."
It also just so happens that this supermoon will coincide with a lunar eclipse.
A lunar eclipse happens when the moon's orbit places the full moon directly behind the Earth. While the moon typically looks white because of the sunlight it reflects, it looks reddish during an eclipse because it's caught in the Earth's umbra, or shadow.
Because of the red coloration, some refer to a lunar eclipse as a "blood moon."
While this doesn't have any actual prophetic capabilities as some would claim, it's still pretty awesome. The fact that this lunar eclipse happens with a supermoon is even more special, but still, no extra luck or juju floating around.
The best views of this amazing event in the United States will come in the midwest and East Coast. All of South America will see the total eclipse, as will Western Europe and Western Africa. Those living in areas not included in this list will likely still be able to see the supermoon lunar eclipse, just to a lesser degree.
The total eclipse starts at 10:11 pm EDT and will continue for an hour and 12 minutes.
Check out the full explanation of this amazing event here:
Don't forget to look up!
[Image credits: NASA Goddard]
[Header image: iStockphoto]