If you look up to the skies on Wednesday night, you will see the second super moon of 2021, which also happens to be a lunar eclipse – giving us the apocalyptic-sounding super blood moon. But have you ever wondered what it would look like if you were in the skies?
From Earth, it will be a total lunar eclipse, but what would it look like if you were actually on the moon? Well, to put it simply, it would be a total eclipse of the
Hypothetically speaking, if you were an astronaut on the surface of the moon during the total lunar eclipse, the sun would be hidden behind the Earth. This would result in a bright red ring around the Earth, which is actually all of the sunrises and sunsets across the globe.
“You would look up and see the Earth, potentially also the city lights on Earth, and you would notice the ground around you turn red,” Dr. Noah Petro, Project Scientist for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission told Forbes.
In addition to the pretty interesting visual experience, you’d also feel it get extremely cold, so you’d be glad to be in the comfort of your spacesuit.
“The lunar surface then cools down substantially during an eclipse as the Moon goes from intense midday Sun to being in darkness,” Petro said. “Hopefully you wouldn’t feel the cooling through your spacesuit.”
“It would be a pretty immersive effect the same way as on Earth during a total solar eclipse when shadows look different and the atmosphere around you cools,” he added.
We don’t currently have any astronauts stationed on the moon’s surface, which is good because the lunar eclipse can actually make things more difficult during a space mission.
“It depends on what that mission and its experiments are designed to survive, but it puts your equipment into a totally different thermal regime,” Petro explained. “During the Apollo missions the astronauts were not going to be on the Moon during an eclipse, but the experiments they left behind were.”
The intense, quick change in temperature during a total lunar eclipse can mess with equipment, much like how an icy car windscreen can crack if you pour hot water on it.
NASA’s next moon mission – scheduled for 2024 – could be impacted if the date is delayed as there are two total lunar eclipses forecast for 2025, and another in 2026.
Although you won’t be able to see it from space, you can find out how to watch the super blood moon from the safety of your own backyard here.