Rare Super-Harvest-Blood Moon

Everything You Need to Know About the Upcoming Rare Super-Harvest-Blood Moon Total Lunar Eclipse

ROCK HILL, SC – On Sunday evening, September 27, 2015, a few hours after sunset, the bright full moon over the Carolinas will turn a shade of reddish amber. It's a total lunar eclipse—visible from eastern North America, western Europe, all of South America, and parts of western Africa.

Carole Holmberg, manager of the Museum of York County’s Settlemyre Planetarium, offers the following insight on the upcoming colorful lunar eclipse:

From the east coast of North America, totality begins at 10:11 p.m. EDT. The moon will be floating high over the eastern horizon and should be easily visible, as long as clouds don’t intervene. The totality phase of the eclipse lasts just over an hour, ending at 11:23 p.m. 

This full moon arrives a few days after the first day of autumn. In traditional folklore, that makes it a Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. This year’s Harvest Moon also will be a “supermoon.” Because the moon orbits Earth in an ellipse rather than a perfect circle, sometimes the moon is a bit closer to us and sometimes it is a little farther away. This full moon will appear slightly larger than average and qualifies as a supermoon because it arrives near perigee, the closest point in its orbit to Earth.

During a total lunar eclipse, the moon passes deep inside the shadow of our planet, a location that bathes the face of the moon in reddish copper-colored light.  The color and brightness of the moon’s surface during a lunar eclipse depends on the dustiness of Earth’s stratosphere. If there have been recent volcanic eruptions, the moon can turn a deep dark red. Some are referring to this total lunar eclipse as a “Blood Moon.” The term became popular in 2013 with the publication of John Hagee’s book “Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change.” There is no science behind the term Blood Moon, other than the moon will turn reddish during totality.


After Sept. 27, 2015, the next total lunar eclipse visible from the Carolinas will not occur until January 21, 2019.

Event Universal Time    Time in South Carolina What will happen

Penumbral Eclipse begins      Sept 28 at 12:11 a.m.  Sept 27 at 8:11 p.m.   Moon begins to dim

Partial Eclipse begins    Sept 28 at 1:07 a.m.   Sept 27 at 9:07 p.m.   First dark “bite”

Full Eclipse begins        Sept 28 at 2:11 a.m.   Sept 27 at 10:11 p.m.  Full reddish eclipse

Maximum Eclipse Sept 28 at 2:48 a.m.   Sept 27 at 10:48 p.m.  Middle of the eclipse

Full Eclipse ends  Sept 28 at 3:23 a.m.   Sept 27 at 11:23 p.m.  Red gone from one edge

Partial Eclipse ends      Sept 28 at 4:27 a.m.   Sept 28 at 12:27 a.m.  Last dark “bite”

Penumbral Eclipse ends        Sept 28 at 5:22 a.m.   Sept 28 at 1:22 a.m.   Fully bright moon


About the Settlemyre Planetarium and Carole Holmberg:

You can learn more about eclipses, Harvest Moons, full moons, and supermoons at the Museum of York County’s Settlemyre Planetarium. The planetarium has programs Tuesday – Saturday at 3:30 p.m. with additional shows on Saturdays and public school holidays.  Admission to the planetarium is included with museum admission. The Museum of York County is located at 4621 Mt. Gallant Road in Rock Hill.

Carole Holmberg, Settlemyre Planetarium manager, has a BS in Physics and has taught astronomy and space sciences at museums and planetariums since 1992.  She was director of physical sciences at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Georgia and planetarium director at Calusa Nature Center in Fort Myers, Florida before becoming planetarium manager at the Museum of York County in November 2013. Holmberg is a NASA heliophysics educator ambassador and incorporates real cutting-edge NASA science in her planetarium programs.

Holmberg can be reached by calling 803/909-7203 or by email: cholmberg@chmuseums.org.

For more information on the Museum of York County, go to http://chmuseums.org/myco/