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What To Call The Supermoon And When To See It


Tonight is a big night for sky-watchers - a total lunar eclipse. You don't need fancy equipment to see it. You just need a clear view of the moon. Michelle Nichols is a master educator at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. And she says this eclipse has a lot going for it. Not only will the Earth's shadow completely obscure the moon but...

MICHELLE NICHOLS: We have a tetrad, which means this is the fourth in a series of four total lunar eclipses in a row. And then finally, we have a supermoon, which just refers to when the moon is at its closest point to Earth. And so this is a supermoon, harvest moon, tetrad lunar eclipse.

MARTIN: And a blood moon. But Michelle Nichols tells us that's not really a scientific term.

NICHOLS: It started off as a term that referred to doomsday prophecies. But it's been used a little more often to refer to that reddish color that you would see during the totality phase of the eclipse.

MARTIN: To see tonight's harvest, supermoon, tetrad, blood moon lunar eclipse, head outside and look to the east around 9 p.m. East Coast time. Just about everyone across the country should be able to see it, although if you're out West, you might have to wait for the moon to get high enough in the sky. Michelle Nichols will be watching from the grounds of the planetarium. And those doomsday prophecies? Yeah, she's not worried.

NICHOLS: I certainly do not think the world is going to end tonight. I think it will be a chance for a whole lot of people across the entire country, as long as it's clear, to be to go outside and enjoy a sky event all at the same time.


NEIL YOUNG: (Singing) But there's a full moon rising. Let's go dancing in the light. We know where the music's playing. Let's go out and feel the night because I'm still in... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.