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Supermoon Lunar Eclipse 2015 Date and Start Time: Will Staring at Blood Moon Damage Your Eyes?

( [email protected] ) Sep 22, 2015 07:32 PM EDT
With the Blood Moon coming September 27, star gazers will get a rare opportunity to witness this astrological event. Also going by the nickname "Supermoon," the Blood Moon last appeared over U.S. skies 32 years ago.
A full moon as seen from West Orange, New Jersey, rises over the skyline of Lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center (L) in New York, May 6, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

With the Blood Moon coming September 27, star gazers will get a rare opportunity to witness this astrological event. Also going by the nickname "Supermoon," the Blood Moon last appeared over U.S. skies 32 years ago.

The phenomenon occurs when a full moon, the Earth and Sun lines up in that order to form a total lunar eclipse. A bit of light does reach the moon, giving the object a reddish glow. This happens even though the moon is in the shadow of the Earth. The "blood" terminology references the color of the moon on that day.

Residents on the East Coast will be luckily to see the Blood Moon in all of its stages - provided the weather remains clear. Unfortunately, those on the West coast will only get to see the eclipse after it has started.

Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse does not damage the eye when viewing directly at it. In fact, the Blood Moon is slightly dimmer than a normal full moon, which is already safe to stare at. 

Experts at NASA have been quick to point out that the lunar eclipse will not alter the shape of the moon.

"There's no physical difference in the moon," NASA scientist Noah Petro said, according to USA Today. "It just appears slightly bigger in the sky. It's not dramatic, but it does look larger."

Lunar Eclipse Timeline

The partial eclipse begins at 9:07 pm EDT on Sunday, September 27.

However, the Total Eclipse does not start until 10:11pm EDT, or 7:11 pm on the U.S. west coast. At this time, the Blood Moon appears in its entirety. The Total Eclipse ends 10:23pm EDT, or 8:23 PDT.

On Monday, September 28 at 12:27am EDT, the Partial Eclipse ends. Those who missed seeing the Blood Moon will need to wait another 18 years for another opportunity to see it.