If you watch the skies on Sunday you can see a supermoon, a harvest or blood moon, and a lunar eclipse all at the same time.
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Regina Centre is hosting a special viewing party at the Kalium Observatory at the Saskatchewan Science Centre between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Admission is free and you enter at the doors to the IMAX theatre. Another group will be meeting at Wascana Park to watch the eclipse.
Shane Ludtke is a member of the RASC and he will definitely be watching the sky on Sunday. He says all three events on their own are fairly common, but this time they are lining up all at the same time.
“What happens during the lunar eclipse is the moon sort of passes behind the earth and the earth casts its shadow onto the moon and we can witness that transit across the face of the moon throughout the evening,” Ludtke said.
The blood moon is also called the harvest moon, and it simply means that the moon is closer to the horizon and from that angle the earth’s atmosphere distorts the colour, giving it a reddish tinge. The supermoon is harder to see, the moon is slightly closer to earth, making it about eight per cent larger than normal.
“What I find really interesting about any kind of eclipse is you really get to see a lot of different solar system bodies in motion,” Ludtke said. “As you are watching the shadow go across the moon, you really get a sense for all of these large bodies that are traveling through space, and I find that fascinating to really think about.”
If you don’t feel like visiting the observatory, Ludtke encourages anyone to simply drive a little ways outside the city where you can see the stars on any dark and clear night. He says Saskatchewan is one of the better places on the continent to watch the skies because there isn’t much light pollution.
The last time you could see all three lunar events at once was in 1982 and it won’t happen again until 2033.