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No super moon eclipse here

There will be no genealogy in The Legal Genealogist today.


I’m pouting.

Because my personal family history pages came up blank last night.

You see, in case you didn’t notice, Mother Nature did something spectacular last night.

It was a total eclipse of a super moon.

Supermoon Lunar EclipseA super moon occurs when the moon is at perigee — closest to the earth — when it is full. When that happens, the moon appears biggest and brightest to those of us stuck here on the ground.1

And a total eclipse? That’s when the earth is between the sun and the moon and casts its shadow on the moon, completely covering the moon.2

Now a super moon by definition isn’t all that rare: they recur in cycles of 14 lunar months, so we’ll get another one on the 14th of November 2016.3

And a total eclipse isn’t all that rare, either: on average, every geographical location on the planet will have the pleasure of a total lunar eclipse about once every 2.3 years.4

But a total eclipse of a super moon? That is rare. We won’t see the next one of those until 2033.5

I couldn’t find a ready reference to see whether that one, in 2033, will be visible here where I live in Central New Jersey.

And … sigh … we here in Central New Jersey didn’t see the one last night either.

Mother Nature did her “nyah nyah” thing and socked us in with a cloud cover. Some parts of the area did get at least partial visibility — but not here.


So today’s blog is brought to you courtesy of 17 U.S.C. §105, the section of the U.S. Copyright Act that provides that “Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government.” Because Bill Ingalls, the photographer who took the image featured in today’s blog, is the chief photographer of NASA, the images he takes as a U.S. government employee on behalf of the U.S. government are in the public domain. (His personal images, of course, are his property and he does have a copyright on those.)

Sigh… this part of my personal family history is downright disappointing.


Image: Bill Ingalls, NASA, “Supermoon Eclipse in Denver, Colorado.”

  1. See “Sunday’s supermoon is closest of 2015,” EarthSky ( : accessed 28 Sep 2015).
  2. Robert Roy Britt, “Lunar Eclipses: What Are They & When Is the Next One?,”, posted 18 Sep 2015 ( : accessed 28 Sep 2015).
  3. Sunday’s supermoon is closest of 2015,” EarthSky
  4. Joe Rao, “10 Surprising Facts About Lunar Eclipses,”, posted 27 Sep 2015 ( : accessed 28 Sep 2015).
  5. Andrew Fazekas, “Rare Super Blood Moon Total Eclipse: How to See It,” National Geographic: Starstruck, posted 25 Sep 2015 ( : accessed 28 Sep 2015).
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