The Super Blood Moon: a name like that implies a magical, mystical, mysterious event – but what is really going on? The lunar spectacle, which will occur for Virginia residents on the night of September 27th, is really a combination of two events: a supermoon and a lunar eclipse. A supermoon is a moon that appears 14 percent larger to viewers due to the moon reaching the orbit point closest to Earth, also known as the perigee. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon, earth, and sun line up in a row, causing the sun to cast the earth’s shadow onto the moon. Both events are awe-inspiring on their own, so occurring together creates a rare masterpiece. In fact, according to NASA, the last Super Blood Moon occurred in 1982 and will not occur again until 2033. The moon will have a blood red color, because, during total lunar eclipses, the sun’s light must travel through the earth’s atmosphere, which scatters blue light but allows red light to illuminate the moon. NASA has created a short animated video explaining and visualizing the science behind tonight’s Super Blood Moon, also known as the Supermoon Lunar Eclipse.
In Virginia, the total lunar eclipse will begin at 10:11 p.m and end at 11:23 p.m. Unfortunately, cloud cover is strong over Charlottesville tonight. While we might not get to enjoy the beauty of the Super Blood Moon tonight, I would like to leave you with the beauty of my favorite moon poem, a classic by Emily Dickinson.
The Moon was but a Chin of Gold
A Night or two ago—
And now she turns Her perfect Face
Upon the World below—
Her Forehead is of Amplest Blonde—
Her Cheek—a Beryl hewn—
Her Eye unto the Summer Dew
The likest I have known—
Her Lips of Amber never part—
But what must be the smile
Upon Her Friend she could confer
Were such Her Silver Will—
And what a privilege to be
But the remotest Star—
For Certainty She take Her Way
Beside Your Palace Door—
Her Bonnet is the Firmament—
The Universe—Her Shoe—
The Stars—the Trinkets at Her Belt—
Her Dimities—of Blue—
Here’s to hoping the clouds clear up. If you are reading from somewhere clear, us at Green Grounds can’t wait to see all the photos tomorrow!