A supermoon lunar eclipse (also known as a bloodmoon) occurred this past Sunday night, September 27, 2015. This astrological event last occurred in 1982 and will not occur again until 2033, making it the talk of many members of the Bates community and beyond. Though lunar eclipses are not uncommon, a bloodmoon, like the moon seen this past Sunday, has some very special qualities. Specifically, the moon appears full and is at the closest point in its orbit around the Earth, making it a “supermoon.” Supermoons are known to be brighter and larger than full moons. In addition, on Sunday, a lunar eclipse also coincided with the supermoon. This means that the Earth aligned directly between the sun and moon, causing the moon to fall in the shadow of the Earth. Some may still wonder why the moon appears with a reddish color during this time. The “blood” of the moon derives as a result of the light reflecting off the Earth’s atmosphere, giving the celestial body its unique color.
Despite the fact that the supermoon lunar eclipse paints a shadow, the event appeared to illuminate something intangible. Whether students trekked up Mount David for a different vantage point, sat outside on the library quad, or stepped out onto the porch of their Frye Street house, the moon brought the campus together to share in the uniqueness of an astrological sight that will not occur again for many years to come. Thoughts of awe, significance in the wider world, and general feelings of wonder crossed many individuals’ minds as the night unfolded. The next time a bloodmoon will be visible, our lives will be fundamentally different than they are presently. Lastly, what perhaps struck me the most was the thought that those who chose to watch the eclipse participated in something that not only was an experience shared among our peers and friends but also a moment that we shared with individuals across the globe.