ISHPEMING — Star–gazers were able to see a supermoon, harvest moon, and a tetrad lunar eclipse Sunday night. That’s a lot of names for just one moon.
A supermoon refers to when the moon is at its closet point of orbit to Earth, which is close to 225,000 miles away. A tetrad simply refers to the fourth in a series of four total lunar eclipses in a row. During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth, sun, and moon are almost exactly in line with the moon on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun.
“It all depends what’s in the atmosphere,” said Rachel Pomeroy, Director of the Shiras Planetarium at Marquette Senior High School. “A lot of water content will give us a reddish color. If there’s been a recent volcano, so there’s a lot of dust and ash in our atmosphere will get a darker color, even down to a purple shade. Water and dust particles in the atmosphere refract that red light and cast the red light onto the moon and reflect it back to us.”
Pomeroy added that the next total eclipse will take place in 2018, and the next supermoon and total eclipse, like we had last night, comes back next in 2033.