The first total eclipse of a “supermoon” in more than three decades was visible on Sept. 27 to hundreds of visitors who viewed the lunar eclipse event from the top level of Northwestern University’s Visitors Center. Three large telescopes were set up for visitors, and faculty and students from The Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) were on hand to answer questions and operate the telescopes. Hundreds of others gathered at the City’s beaches to observe the eclipse, which began at 8:07 p.m. and ended at 11:27 p.m. The moon was totally eclipsed for one hour and 12 minutes.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the entire moon moves into the Earth’s shadow. Over the course of a few hours, the moon changes from being a full, bright moon to a dark-red moon. Although the moon was at times obscured by clouds, skywatchers were able to view the moon, as it turned a dark reddish color during the total eclipse because of the alignment of the moon, Earth and sun.

What made this event special is that the lunar eclipse coincided with the supermoon, which occurs when the moon is at its perigee, the closest point to Earth. This is 31,000 miles closer to Earth than at the apogee, the farthest point in the moon’s orbit.