Bay Area’s Prime Spot to See Eclipse of the Harvest Moon

Among the best lunar eclipse watch parties in the Bay Area will be in San Mateo. And if you miss this one, you won’t be able to see another like it until, oh, 2033. It’s that rare for a Harvest Moon to coincide with a supermoon AND a total lunar eclipse.

On Sunday, September 27th, the College of San Mateo welcomes the public to view the celestial rarity with its Astronomy faculty and students at CSM’s tricked-out observatory.

What can you expect if you go?
Mohsen Janatpour, Professor of Astronomy at CSM, says the event will take place at two locations: from 6:30-7:30 pm, telescopes will be set up on the College Center Terrace (Building 10). “We’ll start by viewing the moon as it rises.”

Visitors can take photos through the telescopes, which have special adaptors for photography. And don’t forget to tag your photos with #BayMeadowsLife when uploading them to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for Bay Meadows’ end-of-the-year photo contest.

At about 7:30, the party moves to CSM’s Observatory for more viewing through the College’s powerful telescopes and available binoculars. At 7:50 the eclipse will be at its totality. The entire phenomenon takes about three hours.

What’s So Special?
Professor Janatpour explains, “Basically, the full moon is going to be the closest distance it gets to the earth, so it appears 14% larger in size than during the regular full moon.”

While fog won’t present too much of an issue, rain cancels the event, so check CSM’s website before attending. And participants should bundle up.

Image of the 2014 lunar eclipse taken by CSM student Alex Chassy, using her iPhone 6 and a 10" Dobsonian [reflector] telescope.

Image of the 2014 lunar eclipse taken by CSM student Alex Chassy, using her iPhone 6 and a 10″ Dobsonian [reflector] telescope.

Tips for Viewing on Your Own

  1. Select a wide open space – the ideal location has a wide open view of the sky, such as city parks. Bay Meadows park would be a great location in San Mateo.
  2. Know the stages of the eclipse – First watch for the spectacularly large moon to rise, around 6:30. At 7:50, the eclipse will be “in totality,” when the shadow fully covers the moon. Still, this is only midway through the entire event.
  3. Binoculars – these are handy for getting up close & personal

Where else to view in the Bay Area?

San Francisco Amateur Astronomers – gather at Pier 15 in San Francisco

Chabot Space & Science Center – 7:00-9:30 pm. Cost is $10

Do you love living on the Peninsula? Share your San Mateo pride to the rest of the Bay Area! Tag photos of the best parts of your local life using #baymeadowslife or email and you’ll be automatically entered into our Fame x Frame Photo Contest. WIN up to $50 monthly or a year-end Grand Prize of $500!   Click here for official rules.