How to view the total lunar eclipse on Tuesday?
Total lunar eclipses, commonly known as “blood moons,” only take place during full moons when the Earth completely shields the moon from the sun. Once the sun, Earth and moon are precisely aligned, light from simultaneous sunrises and sunsets around the Earth projects onto the moon, briefly creating a copper-red layer on the lunar surface. The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the moon will appear, according to nasa.
From the moon, the total lunar eclipse would shine a bright red aura around Earth’s dark surface.
“It’s a wonderful reminder of this very special connection between the Earth, the moon and the sun,” said Noah Petro, a scientist with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Project at NASA.
The entire moon will glow copper red from 5:17 a.m. to 6:42 a.m. Eastern time. But moon buffs can wake up at 3:02 a.m. to see the moon enter the outer portion of Earth’s shadow, a “penumbral” lunar eclipse; this will dim the moon slightly. The partial eclipse, which will look like a bite has been taken from the moon’s surface, starts at 4:09 a.m.
Anyone on the night side of Earth will be able to see the eclipse. West Coast viewers will be able to watch the full lunar eclipse undisturbed as it will take place in the middle of the night. Residents on the east coast will see the copper moon sink on the horizon because of the early sunrise. Hawaii is the “absolutely ideal location” to view the eclipse, Petro said.
“Any place, basically west of the central part of the country, is a bit more of a prime location,” Petro said. “Like real estate, it’s all about location.”
The first lunar eclipse of the year bathed the moon in a rusty bronze cloak last May. Those in California and the Pacific Northwest were only able to view the second half of the eclipse.
There can be a minimum of two lunar eclipses and a maximum of four in any given year, Geoff Chester, an astronomer and public affairs officer at the US Naval Observatory, told The Washington Post. If there are two in one year, both tend to be total lunar eclipses.
“Twice a year, someone somewhere on the planet will see a total lunar eclipse if it’s a year where we have two eclipses,” Chester said.
Unlike the blinding effect of solar eclipses, no special equipment is needed to see the reddish hues, but observing in a dark environment away from bright light provides the best view, according to NASA.
Astronomers can determine total lunar eclipses years in advance thanks to their knowledge of the moon’s orbital patterns.
“It all comes down to knowing the moon’s orbit very precisely, where we can predict a solar eclipse and lunar eclipse down to the minute,” Petro told The Post.
While scientists can predict the exact time when the different phases of the eclipse will occur, there’s one thing they can’t predict: its color. The shade of total lunar eclipses ranges from eclipse to eclipse, ranging from coppery gold to deep red.
“We just don’t know exactly from eclipse to eclipse [what color] we come to the moment of totality. And that adds an element of fun,” Chester said.
This is the last time residents of the United States will be able to see a fully painted moon until May 14, 2025. But those who miss this sighting can see partial and penumbra lunar eclipses every now and then.
A faint half-shadow lunar eclipse is scheduled for May 5 and 6 next year, and a partial lunar eclipse is scheduled for October 28, but none of these eclipses will make the moon appear red.
“Every eclipse is special because they are all wonderful opportunities to look at the moon, our closest neighbor in space,” Petro said.
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