Supermoon eclipse: Excitement builds as people pick viewing spots

The moon rises behind Glastonbury Tor on September 27, 2015, in Glastonbury, England.

The moon rises behind Glastonbury Tor on September 27, 2015, in Glastonbury, England.

(Matt Cardy / Getty Images)

Southern California residents should have great seats for the rare “supermoon” lunar eclipse Sunday evening and the Griffith Observatory is offering a free public viewing that is expected to attract hundreds of skywatchers.

But be prepared to come early and walk a long distance from parking, warned observatory officials. The nearby Greek Theatre is holding a concert (the Catch a Fire tour celebrates what would have been Bob Marley’s 70th birthday year) and vehicle and foot traffic is expected to be extremely heavy around the venues.

Those heading to the observatory are also asked not to bring personal telescopes or lawn chairs. A supply of lawn telescopes and binoculars will be provided and the eclipse should be easily viewed with the naked eye, officials said.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth’s shadow falls on the moon as it moves between the moon and the sun. The coppery reddish color of the lunar face has given rise to its description as a “blood moon.”


Because the moon will also be at its closet point to Earth -- in perigee -- it will appear about 13% larger than other full moons. The last time the two events coincided was 1982, and the next time will be 2033.

“Because the moon will be so full and because of the time of the day, there should be great viewing in Los Angeles,” said Owen Lancaster, an observatory guide. “It’s totally going to seem bigger and that’s cool. You won’t even need binoculars, you can just go outside and observe.”

On the West Coast, the total eclipse will begin at 7:11 p.m. and end at 8:23 p.m. The maximum eclipse will occur at 7:47 p.m.

The Griffith Observatory event will begin at about 6:30 p.m. and will include live music provided by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The event will also be livestreamed over the Internet.

Twitter: @CarlaRiveraLat