It’s not often, in southern England, that we get the chance to see a total eclipse of the Moon. But in the early hours of Monday 28th September, I was lucky enough to witness a triple lunar event. Not only was it a total lunar eclipse, it was the largest supermoon of 2015 (being closest to Earth on its elliptical orbit) and also, because it was the full Moon nearest the autumn equinox, it was classed as the ‘Harvest Moon’.
This rare triple event will not be repeated for another 30 years or so. But we will, however, get another opportunity to see a favourable total lunar eclipse in 2019. The 2019 eclipse won’t be a supermoon, but at an average distance of around 240,000 miles from Earth, it’s doubtful that we’ll notice much of a difference compared to the 2015 eclipse.
This image of the Moon is a single frame showing the Moon at 3.13 am, a minute into totality. The red and orange hues are caused by sunlight scattering through Earth’s lower atmosphere – the stratosphere – refracting (or bending) light to the red end of the spectrum (a bit like watching all of the world’s sunsets and sunrises at the same time). The bluish hue at the bottom of this image is due to light scattering through Earth’s ozone layer (which absorbs red light), refracting towards the blue part of the spectrum.
Equipment: Canon 70D, Skywatcher 200P
Settings: ISO400, 0.6sec
© Melanie Davies 2015