Lunar eclipse this weekend: Moon turns blood red

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – A total lunar eclipse will grace the night sky this weekend, providing longer-than-usual thrills for stargazers across the Americas.

Celestial action unfolds from Sunday night through early Monday morning, bathing the moon in the reflected reds and oranges of Earth’s sunsets and sunrises for about 1 1/2 hours, one of the longest totals of the decade. It will be the first so-called blood moon in a year.

Viewers in the eastern half of North America and throughout Central and South America will have prime seating throughout the show, weather permitting. Partial stages of the eclipse will be visible across Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Left out: Alaska, Asia and Australia.

“This is truly an eclipse for America,” said NASA’s Noah Petro, a planetary geologist specializing in the moon. “This will be a treat.”

All you need, he noted, is “patience and eyeballs.”

lunar eclipse
This will be the first blood moon in a year.

A total solar eclipse occurs when Earth passes directly between the moon and the sun, casting a shadow on our constant cosmic companion. The moon will be 225,000 miles away at the peak of the eclipse – around midnight on the US east coast.

“This is that gradual, slow, wonderful event that you can see as long as it’s clear where you are,” Petro said.

If not, NASA will provide a live stream of the eclipse from various locations; likewise the Slooh network of observatories.

There will be another long total lunar eclipse in November, with Africa and Europe lucky again, but not America. Then the next one won’t be until 2025.

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft, launched last fall and searching for asteroids, will photograph this weekend’s event from a distance of 64 million miles as ground controllers continue their efforts to repair a loose solar panel.

NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, a geologist, plans to set her alarm clock early aboard the International Space Station.

“Hopefully we can get up in time and be in the right place at the right time to get a good look,” she told The Associated Press earlier this week. Lunar eclipse this weekend: Moon turns blood red


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