Total Lunar Eclipse Coming Wednesday Morning

Tuesday, 7th Oct 2014, United States of America

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  • Type: What's Making News

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Tonight stargazers are in for a treat: Assuming the weather cooperates, a total lunar eclipse will be visible from much of the United States starting around 5:15 a.m. Eastern time, peaking around 6:55 a.m. and ending at 7:24 a.m.

It’s the second lunar eclipse of the year, and the second of four that’ll take place before the end of 2015. What exactly happens during a total lunar eclipse? “Think of it this way,” Jim O’Leary, senior scientist at the Maryland Science Center, told weather.com. “The Earth casts a shadow and that shadow gets cast into space. Occasionally the moon will pass into that shadow.” The result is a darkened moon, he said, adding, “It will be completely in the Earth’s shadow for approximately an hour.” Peak time — just before 7 a.m. Eastern Wednesday morning — or the point in time when the moon will be at its darkest, is called the greatest eclipse, according to O’Leary.

Though this lunar show will happen across the United States, the farther west you are, the better your view, NASA notes. “The entire October 8 eclipse is visible from the Pacific Ocean and regions immediately bordering it. The northwestern third of North America also witnesses all stages.” Sometimes this celestial event is called the Blood Moon, for its eerie hue. The color changes for a couple reasons, O’Leary said. “You’re getting kind of a sunset view of the moon,” he said. Plus, “depending on what’s in the atmosphere — if it’s hazy, smoky, if there were forest fires — you might have ash and dust in the air.

That will color the moon when it goes through the Earth’s shadows.” Tonight’s lunar eclipse coincides with the October full moon, nicknamed the Hunter’s Moon. The name, as we described last year about this moon, comes from those who used the light to their advantage. “Hunters … tracked and killed their prey by autumn moonlight, stockpiling food for the winter ahead,” writes NASA’s Tony Phillips. “You can picture them: Silent figures padding through the forest, the moon overhead, pale as a corpse, its cold light betraying the creatures of the wood.” It’s an exciting time for star lovers. Don’t want to watch the skies alone? NASA is hosting a virtual viewing party overnight tonight. Experts will be available to answer questions and a livestream of the eclipse is available at www.weather.com.

Reported by http://www.weather.com/news/science/total-lunar-eclipse-wednesday

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