A full moon, also at its closest point to Earth, and to complete with a total lunar eclipse will coincide this Wednesday in the so-called “red supermoon”, a beautiful spectacle, which also brings earthlings closer to space exploration and its achievements, as explained to Efe, NASA planetary scientist Lucas Paganini.
This rare lunar “trifecta”, which will redden the Moon for “a dozen minutes”, has not occurred for about six years, detailed in an interview Paganini, an Argentine from Mendoza who appreciates the opportunity that this natural phenomenon offers to “share the beauty of our skies.”
In addition, the “red supermoon” allows the scientific community to bring the general public closer to space missions, especially the Artemis program that plans to return to the Moon in 2024, this time with the first woman and also establish a permanent presence on the satellite from the earth.
This Wednesday, the full moon will be at the closest point to Earth this year, which is known as the “supermoon”. This closeness makes it appear larger and 15% brighter than at other times, Paganini said.
The total lunar eclipse, which occurs when the Moon completely passes through the Earth’s shadow, will begin at 08.46 GMT on Wednesday, with the Moon entering the darkest part of the shadow at 09.45 GMT, NASA reported.
The shadow of the Earth will thus darken the Moon, but gradually the satellite will acquire an oxidized or blood red color due to the reflections of the Sun’s rays, as happens with some early mornings and sunsets on the planet.
The stages of the eclipse, which lasts from one to two hours, occur simultaneously for all who can see the Moon, but the actual times of the clock depend on your time zone.
The total eclipse, the first since January 2019, will be visible especially in the western continental United States and Canada, all of Mexico, most of Central America and Ecuador, western Peru and southern Chile and Argentina, according to the aerospace agency NASA.
It can also be seen in its entirety in eastern Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii.
No need for special glasses as in solar eclipses, the “red supermoon” will thus be within reach of a large portion of the population, which can be equipped with telescopes or binoculars to see it better.
From closer, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been collecting information from the Moon for about 12 years to prepare the ground for new manned missions, Paganini recalled.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center scientist noted that the LRO, among many other achievements, has been able to confirm that there is water on the Moon.
He also stressed that it has led to the development of “temperature maps” that have made it possible to understand “the great thermal amplitude”, which include the coldest temperatures in the Solar System, from about minus 250 degrees Celsius to 130 degrees, the hottest.
He also highlighted the high-resolution photos that the LRO has collected, which show in great detail the lunar surface and they have even detected the presence of footprints and instruments left about fifty years ago by the astronauts of the Apollo 11 and 17 missions..
The LRO, which also enlisted for the “trifecta” on Wednesday, in which it will lose communications with the Earth because it will have the Moon in the middle, is thus preparing the ground for the return of man to the Moon.
The planetary expert recalled that the Moon, in addition to being Earth’s celestial companion, was formed 4.5 billion years ago, when the Solar System did.
“Understanding the composition of the Moon can give us information on its planetary formation, on the formation of our Solar System and also on the Earth,” he emphasized.
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