Sunday, September 27, 2015

Watch That Supermoon Eclipse Tonight Or Else!

If it's clear where you are tonight, the moon
will look something like this during the eclipse.  
The buzz among science and weather geeks tonight is the Supermoon eclipse.

It won't lead to any major scientific discoveries, but the Supermoon eclipse is Supercool for everybody, including anybody. Every average Joe and Jane. And those who like to howl at the moon.

Normal moon eclipses happen pretty often. Maybe once a year, even twice. It happens when the Earth gets in the way of the sun, so it stops shining on the moon.

What makes tonight's Supermoon thingy great is the moon is closer to the Earth than it almost always is. It's at Perigee, which means it's 31,000 miles closer to the Earth that at its farthest point. (The moon''s orbit isn't perfectly round, of course, so sometimes its closer to the Earth, sometimes is further away.)

When we have a Supermoon, to us Earthlings it appears 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than it usually does.

The moon was almost full last night, and I went outside under clear skies into my Vermont property, and I sure as hell didn't need a flashlight. It almost felt like daylight.

Lining up an eclipse with the Supermoon doesn't happen that often. It has happened in about 30 years, and after tonight, you won't see it again for until 2033.

So hope it doesn't get cloudy and get out that and watch.

It'll start at around 9:07 Eastern Time tonight, when it will start to appear a little nibble is being taken out of a side of the moon. That nibble will gradually spread across the moon until 10:11 when it's "eaten up."

You'll still see the moon during total eclipse, which peaks at 10:47 p.m. Eastern Time. It'll appear blood red. You'll really want to howl at the moon at this point. Just watch out for those noise complaints from neighbors

Of course, you'll want clear skies to see it. On the East Coast of the United States, generally the further north you go, the clearer it will be. Basically most of New England should be OK. But from the New York City metro area south, not so much.  
AccuWeather has this sky forecast for viewing
during tonights Supermoon eclipse. If you're in the green
, great viewing, yellow is so-so and red is kinda bad.

Luckily for me, the forecast for tonight at my perch in northwestern Vermont is for mostly clear skies and mild temperatures for this time of year.

Down into the Middle Atlantic states and the Carolinas, it'll probably be mostly cloudy tonight, but you might get a glimpse.

By the way, since the moon is closer to Earth than usual, the tides it causes are higher than normal.

The combination of this Supermoon, and a  weather pattern that features a wide flow of easterly winds over the Atlantic that piles water onto the U.S East Coast, coastal flood advisories and warnings are up for much of the Middle Atlantic Coast.

I also hate to say this, but the fact that sea levels are rising due to climate change and the land on the East Coast is sinking due to geological processes, this Supermoon flooding is a little worse than it would have been a few decades ago, before global warming really kicked in.

Chances are, especially if the weather patterns are right, the Supermoon flooding in 2033 could be even worse.

But now I'm getting gloomy, so I'll stop now. Just go out there tonight if you can and enjoy those eclipse moonbeams. You won't be disappointed.

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