Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: Supermoon Eclipse

The sun, the earth and the moon lined up in a row to put on a light show in Sunday’s night sky.

People around the world looked up to watch the supermoon total lunar eclipse.

In tonight’s Sightseeing in Northern Michigan, we look back, and look up, at the phenomenon that hasn’t been seen in 33 years.

“They are rare.”

For many of us in Northern Michigan, Sunday night clouds took over the sky. Here’s what we missed.

“The moon gets within perfect alignment with the Earth and the sun, and the Earth’s shadow will be cast upon the moon, so using this demonstration if you watch the moon itself it’s going to pass through the shadow of the Earth and become an eclipse and as it come around it will pass back out of the shadow and once again become illuminated,” says NMC astronomy professor Jerry Dobek.

Luckily, the Internet was full of images from those who had a great view of the sky. They shared pictures with us, like Ben Musielak from Paradise, Michigan saw most of it through the clouds.  We have scientific explanations for the supermoon eclipse. Just imagine what it was like for our forefathers who didn’t have the knowledge we do.

“In ancient times some of these early astronomers were baffled by the different colors of these eclipses.  They didn’t know what was occurring around the globe that would cause it to change colors,” says Dobek.

Or like Major Chris Penedleton of the U.S. Army who sent us pictures of a blood red moon from a much clearer atmosphere at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

 “What’s occurring for us is we do have some wildfires going on out in the western part of the U.S. and in Canada, which has produced a little bit of smoke into the atmosphere over the past several months, so this eclipse could be a dark orange or even reddish in color. Hence what some people are calling the blood moon,” explains Dobek.

From Paul Carrol of Goderich, Ontario who sent us beautiful photos from the eastern shore of Lake Huron to Keith Baker who was sailing aboard the freighter Cason J. Callaway in western Lake Superior. 

“This eclipse is the last of what astronomers call tetrads, where we have four eclipses that occur in a series six months a part,” says Dobek.

And because he was patient, at 11:51 on Sunday night, our very own Corey Adkins caught the last half hour of this special celestial event… And it was stunning.

“The next total lunar eclipse is not until January 2019, the next tetrad series won’t be until 2032, so we have a little bit of a wait before this next set of eclipses here in North America.”

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus