On Sunday night, an eerie red moon might be visible across much of the world because of a rare total lunar eclipse.
Starting at 10.27pm ET on Sunday, the Earth will sit between the moon and the sun, and the moon will begin passing into the Earth’s shadow for a partial eclipse. By 11.29pm ET, the moon might be moving into the darkest a part of the Earth’s shadow, called the umbra, and the overall eclipse will begin, lasting just over an hour.
Light travels in waves, and different-coloured light has different wavelengths. Higher frequency blue and violet light has a shorter wavelength, and is scattered more easily by particles within the atmosphere. Meanwhile, lower frequency can more easily go through the atmosphere unbothered.
During an eclipse, the one sunlight reaching the moon might be on the red end of the spectrum, giving the so-called “Blood Moon” its distinctive hue.
“The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere through the eclipse, the redder the Moon will appear,” in accordance with NASA. “It’s as if all of the world’s sunrises and sunsets are projected onto the Moon.”
The red moon ought to be visible by the naked eye in most of North America, South America, Africa, and Europe. Though those living near brilliant lights and tall buildings could have a harder time getting a glimpse.
The moon will appear red due to something called Rayleigh scattering, the identical process that makes the sky blue and sunsets red.
“That’s the wonderful thing about lunar eclipses is that you just require no other gear aside from a passion and interest in being outside and a transparent horizon,” Noah Petro, chief of Nasa’s Planetary Geology, Geophysics and Geochemistry Lab, told CNN.
Those with no clear view can all the time stream the motion on NASA’s YouTube feed.
The astro-curious should act quickly in the event that they need to see the red moon.
The following total lunar eclipse will occur on 8 November, after which we’ll must wait until March 2025 to see one again.