Take in the Red Moon

Be ready to stand outside and take in a Red Moon on Sept. 27, when the total lunar eclipse occurs.

It’s a special sight. It happens only during a full moon when the sun, Earth and moon are in a straight line. The Earth blocks any direct sunlight from reaching the moon, casting a shadow over the moon and making the moon appear in shades of color that range from copper to red.

When the sun’s rays pass around the Earth during a total lunar eclipse the green to violet portion of the light spectrum filters out but the reddish part of the spectrum doesn’t. The red light bends upon entering and exiting the Earth’s atmosphere and while the moon is in the Earth’s shadow during the lunar eclipse that bending light makes the moon appear red. Factors such as dust, humidity and temperature determine the specific shade the moon appears.

Total lunar eclipses occur only at nighttime, roughly three times a year. This lunar eclipse will be visible for three hours and 20 minutes, beginning around 9pm.