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Sleepless night ahead for astronomers

Astronomers will be staying up late tonight, or rising early on Monday morning as tonight’s super moon will be eclipsed in a rare phenomenon that won’t be seen again until May 2021.

On Sunday night, the full moon will appear larger than usual, as it is in the perigee of its orbit and will be a red colour when entering the eclipse phase

The moon starts its gradual journey into darkness at precisely 02:35 on Monday morning.

The eclipse starts at 03:34 when the moon begins to hide in the Earth’s shadow, starting to take on a more reddish hue.

The moon will be totally eclipsed between 04:41 and 05:44, when it gradually starts to emerge from the shadow, ending the eclipse at 06:51 on Monday morning.

The red colour of a Super Moon is due to sunlight being filtered by the earth’s atmosphere. The nearer the moon is to mother Earth, the greater the refraction of the red rays.

On Monday, at 19:59, the moon will be at its closest point to the earth, a distance of 357,342 kilometres, making it appear 14% bigger than normal.