Australian skygazers will be in luck tonight as a supermoon coincides with the only total lunar eclipse of 2021.
Supermoons are brighter and larger than a normal full moon, occurring when the moon reaches the closest point to Earth along its orbit.
This supermoon will be the closest moon to Earth in 2021, according to EarthSky.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the moon, at the exact alignment that causes the moon to be fully covered by Earth’s shadow.
It will take the moon just over three hours to cross through the Earth’s shadow, but the actual lunar eclipse will last under 15 minutes.
During the eclipse, the moon will have a reddish hue from the sunlight filtering through the Earth’s atmosphere, according to NASA, so you can also refer to this month’s event as a “blood moon”.
All of Australia will be able to see the phenomenon if clouds permit.
In the eastern capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart) the total lunar eclipse will begin at 9.11pm and end at 9.25pm.
In the country’s centre (Adelaide, Darwin), the eclipse will begin at 8.41pm and end at 8.55pm.
In the west (Perth), the eclipse will begin at 7.11pm and end at 7.25pm.
Clear skies are forecast in Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane, but it is expected to be at least partly cloudy in Melbourne, Darwin and Hobart.
At the current forecast, it may be too cloudy to see anything in Perth or Adelaide.
A partial eclipse will be visible about 90 minutes before and after the total lunar eclipse.
The European Space Agency will be streaming the eclipse in cooperation with the CSIRO, using a deep dish tracking station in New Norcia, Western Australia.