Total lunar eclipse party Sept. 27 at UT Ritter Planetarium | UToledo News

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Total lunar eclipse party Sept. 27 at UT Ritter Planetarium

A super-moon total lunar eclipse hasn’t occurred in 32 years, but you have a chance to see one Sunday, Sept. 27.

To celebrate the rare occurrence, The University of Toledo’s Ritter Planetarium will hold a free special viewing party from 9 to 11:30 p.m., weather permitting.

This image from NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows a total eclipse of the moon.

This image from NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows a total eclipse of the moon.

The partial phase of the eclipse will begin at 9:07 p.m., according to Dr. Michael Cushing, UT associate professor of astronomy and director of the planetarium.

“From 10:11 p.m. until 11:23 p.m., the moon will be completely eclipsed,” he said. “At 11:23 p.m., the moon will begin to emerge from the Earth’s shadow, and by 12:27 a.m., the eclipse will be over.”

And if you miss it, you’ll have to wait 18 years for the alignment of the Earth between the full super moon and the sun to occur again.

Because the moon’s orbit isn’t perfectly circular, the moon is sometimes closer and sometimes farther from the Earth. On Sunday, it will be slightly closer to the Earth and it will appear about 14 percent larger, hence the “super” name, Cushing explained.

“The combination of a super moon and a lunar eclipse is uncommon; there have only been five since 1900,” Cushing said.

Earth’s satellite is often referred to as the blood moon during a total lunar eclipse.

“As the moon passes into the shadow of the Earth, red light from the sun is filtered and bent, or refracted, through the Earth’s atmosphere and onto the moon’s surface,” Cushing said.

Starting at 9 p.m., a 10-minute program explaining the total lunar eclipse will run continuously at Ritter Planetarium until 11:30 p.m.

“Even though you can see the eclipse from anywhere in the area without any special equipment, we’d like to invite you to experience the event with us,” Cushing said. “We will have several small telescopes pointed at the moon on the planetarium’s south lawn.”

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