A lunar eclipse against a background of starts. Courtesy of NASA
A lunar eclipse against a background of starts. Courtesy of NASA

The first supermoon lunar eclipse since 1982 will occur Sunday evening, providing a rare celestial show for Southland sky-gazers.

The eclipse is caused by the Earth passing between the moon and sun, with the Earth casting its shadow over the moon. The effect results in the moon not being blacked out, but bathed in a red glow, earning it the nickname “blood moon.”

Although there was a lunar eclipse in April, today’s coincides with a supermoon, when the Earth is closer than usual to the moon due to the moon’s elliptical orbit. A supermoon lunar eclipse has not occurred since 1982, and there won’t be another one until 2033.

The eclipse is scheduled to begin at about 6:40 p.m., with the full face of the moon cast in the Earth’s shadow by 7:11 p.m. The moon will begin emerging from the Earth’s shadow at 8:23 p.m. The entire event will be over by around 9:45 p.m.

Officials at the Griffith Observatory said the eclipse should be visible throughout Southern California and can be viewed with the naked eye.

The observatory will host a free public event for visitors to view the eclipse, with telescopes and binoculars being provided for guests. During the event, pianist Ray Ushikubo of the Colburn School will entertain the crowed with moon-related works, such as Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”

Observatory officials noted that large crowd is expected, and they encouraged guests to take the Metro Red Line to the Sunset/Vermont station and use the DASH Observatory Weekend Shuttle.

— From Staff and Wire Reports


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