Not only most of North America will witness a total lunar eclipse on Wednesday (Oct. 8) but they will also be a witness of a very exceptional cosmic activity i.e. a selenelion.
During a lunar eclipse, the sun, Earth, and moon are in a geometrically straight line in space, (180 degrees apart in the sky) with the Earth in the middle. A selenelion is an event in which both the rising sun and the eclipsed moon can be seen together in opposite skies.
So the hardcore star gazers the subtle eclipse will occur when the moon will be under the faint outermost shadow of the Earth, the penumbra 3:17 AM on Wednesday.
At 4:14 AM, partial eclipse will start. At 5:25 AM the moon is completely red.
At 5:55 AM the peak of the eclipse and at 6:24 AM the Moon will be back to its normal reflection of sunlight.
Depending on the location and the weather it is estimated that the sight can be viewed for 2 to 9 minutes.
Full lunar eclipses are often called “blood moons” due to the reddish tint adopted by them while sunsets and sunrises seen from Earth reflect onto moon’s surface.
Lunar eclipses and solar eclipses arrive in sets around a fortnight apart. The solar eclipse pair of this lunar eclipse will occur on October 23 blocking about 80% of the sun’s diameter i.e. a partial eclipse. It will be visible across Canada and the USA.
The sighting is rare as according to celestial geometry’s terms Syzygy, a selenelion is impossible.
“Syzygy” refers to the alignment of three celestial objects in a gravitational system often used in reference to the Sun, Earth and the Moon.
The study “Dating the Crucifixion”, in the journal, Sky and Telescope in April, 1989 by Bradley Schaefer, an astronomer noted that the full moon can be seen only when it is about 2 degrees up and the sun is about 2 degrees below the horizon.
The best advice for sky-watchers is to move far away from city light pollution to full potential and go to places where there are no trees or houses blocking your view.