When it comes to matters of the moon, we trust the people who have actually been there: the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (also, no offense, PAGASA).
According to the world’s top space nerds, the Pacific Rim countries — of which the Philippines is one — offer the best moonwatching spots for this year’s second lunar eclipse. This one promises to be particularly beautiful, as tonight’s full moon is a ‘supermoon’, which occurs when the Moon at its closest to the earth.
Lunar eclipses are also called ‘blood moons,’ as the Moon won’t completely disappear from view, but will instead darken and take on a reddish hue. That red color comes from the sunlight filtering through the earth’s atmosphere — or, as NASA’s writers poetically put it: “a ring of light created by all the sunrises and sunsets happening around our planet at that time.”
Though just how red it will be can vary from eclipse to eclipse, NASA also explains that dust in the atmosphere may cause its colors to deepen — “keep in mind there have been a couple of prominent volcanic eruptions recently.”
NASA also recommends finding a vantage point with an unobstructed view. That means going for the beach or lakeshores, wide plains, or high up on a mountain or tall building.
And if you’re planning to photograph the eclipse, the agency also has your back, with these photography tips from NASA photographer Bill Dunford. Among his pro tips: plan ahead, use a tripod, zoom in, and use daylight settings to capture the details of the Moon’s surface.
Now, because planning is key, you need to know what time to expect the eclipse to happen. That where the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Atmospheric Services Administration (PAGASA) steps in. Here is PAGASA’s forecast for tonight:
Penumbral eclipse begins at 4:47 p.m. (GMT +8, or Philippine Standard Time)
Moon rise for Manila begins at 6:14 p.m.
Partial eclipse begins at 5:44 p.m.
Greatest eclipse at 7:18 p.m.
Ending partial eclipse is at 8:52 p.m.
Ending penumbral eclipse is at 9:49 p.m.