Rockford Gets A “Near Max” View Of Tomorrow Morning’s Eclipse
As I told you yesterday on this website, it's a pretty great week for sky-watching here in the Rockford area. You've got the International Space Station flying over multiple times, and tomorrow morning you've the Super Flower Blood Moon Eclipse.
Let's break it down for you. Every year, we get anywhere from 2 to 4 "super moons." They're called super moons because they're larger and appear much brighter than what we think of as a "normal" full moon. Tonight, going into tomorrow morning, we'll be able to see the Super Flower Moon (called that because in May flowers are blooming), which is the closest proximity to Earth the moon will achieve this entire year.
But, there's a twist to tomorrow's celestial show. The Super Flower Moon will be subject to a total lunar eclipse, which changes its name to the Super Flower Blood Moon. The blood part is added because of the reddish coloration you'll see on the moon's surface during the eclipse. The red, or blood, coloring is caused by light filtering through the Earth's atmosphere, according to NASA. It should look like this:
You've got some viewing choices with tonight's/tomorrow's moon activities. If you're just interested in the Super Flower Moon without the blood color and the eclipse, just head outside tonight and watch it come up and move across the nighttime skies. Then go to bed, you're good.
However, if you want to check out the moon's changeover from Super Flower Moon to Super Flower Blood Moon Eclipse, you'll need to get up a little early tomorrow morning. According to TimeAndDate.com, here's the schedule for catching the full lunar show:
- 3:47am: The Penumbral Eclipse (when Earth's penumbra starts touching the Moon's face) begins.
- 4:44am: A partial eclipse begins, and the moon begins turning red (look to the southwest)
- 5:27am: This is what TimeAndDate.com says is the moment when the eclipse reaches its greatest magnitude while the entire Moon is above the horizon in Rockford.
- 5:31: Moonset, or the moment that the moon dips below the horizon happens.
Looking at the overnight weather forecast, there might be some viewing difficulty caused by cloud cover, but I think it might be worth getting up a bit earlier than normal for the chance to see something really cool.