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Moon to turn red over river city as total lunar eclipse graces skies


Queensland stargazers will be hoping for clear weather next Wednesday night when one of the most spectacular sights in nature – a total lunar eclipse – is due to grace the skies.

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Brisbane is set to be one of the best places to witness the event as the moon will be 45 degrees above the horizon when the total phase of the eclipse begins. It will also coincide with a so-called “supermoon”, when the moon is on its closest approach to Earth.

The total eclipse, also known as a blood moon as the Earth’s shadow colours the entire lunar surface a rusty shade of red, will take place from 9.11pm to 9.25pm.

Brisbane City Council is anticipating the best vantage points – such as the Mt Coot-the lookout – will be brimming with spectators to view the event.

Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium Acting Curator Duncan Waldron said stargazers will start to notice changes in the moon’s appearance as early as 6:47pm.

He said the eclipse will begin when the moon passed through the outer edge of Earth’s shadow, known as the penumbra.

“We’ll see this as a slight shadow slowly appearing on the surface of the moon,” he said.

He said the red hue was caused by the sunlight being scattered by Earth’s atmosphere, much like what happens during a sunset or sunrise.

Unlike solar eclipses, he said total lunar eclipse were safe to view with the naked eye.

“So as long as conditions are clear and you have a mostly unobstructed view, all you’ll need to do is to simply look up.”

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Curren forces for Wednesday is for partly cloudy conditions.

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