A total lunar eclipse, commonly referred to as a “blood moon,” only occurs during a full moon, when Earth completely shields the moon from the sun. Once the Sun, Earth, and Moon are perfectly aligned, light from the simultaneous sunrise and sunset around Earth is projected onto the Moon, briefly creating a copper-red coating on the Moon’s surface. According to NASA, the more dust or clouds there are in Earth’s atmosphere during a solar eclipse, the moon’s rescuers will appear.
Viewed from the Moon, a total lunar eclipse emits a bright red halo around Earth’s dark surface.
“It’s a great reminder of this really special connection between the Earth, the Moon and the Sun,” said Noah Petro, a scientist with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter program.
From 5:17 a.m. to 6:42 a.m. ET, the entire moon will be copper-red. But lunar fanatics can wake up at 3:02 a.m. to watch the moon enter the outer part of Earth’s shadow, known as a “penumbral” lunar eclipse; this will cause the moon to dim slightly.Partial eclipse that looks like it took a bite from the lunar surface is set to begin at 4:09am
Everyone on Earth at night will be able to see the eclipse. West Coast viewers will be able to watch the entire lunar eclipse uninterrupted because it occurs in the middle of the night. Due to the early sunrise, residents of the East Coast will watch the Copper Moon sink into the horizon. Hawaii is an “absolutely ideal location” to watch the eclipse, Petro said.
“Anywhere, actually west of the center of the country, is in prime locations,” Petro said. “Just like real estate, it’s all about location.”
Last May, the first lunar eclipse of the year left the moon bathed in a rusted bronze cloak. Those in California and the Pacific Northwest will only be able to see the second half of the eclipse.
PHOTOS: Blood Moon eclipse lights up the night sky
In any given year, there are at least two lunar eclipses and as many as four, Jeff Chester, an astronomer and public affairs officer at the U.S. Naval Observatory, told The Washington Post. If there are two in a year, both tend to be total lunar eclipses.
“Twice a year, if we have two lunar eclipses, someone somewhere on Earth will see a total lunar eclipse,” Chester said.
Unlike the blinding effect of a solar eclipse, no special equipment is required to see the reddish hue, but it is best viewed in a dark environment away from bright light, according to NASA.
Thanks to what astronomers know about the Moon’s orbital patterns, they can determine total lunar eclipses years in advance.
“It all comes down to knowing the moon’s orbit very accurately, and we can predict the moment of a solar and lunar eclipse,” Petro told The Post.
While scientists can predict exactly when the different phases of a solar eclipse will occur, they can’t predict one thing: its color. The hue of a total lunar eclipse varies by eclipse, ranging from copper-gold to deep red.
“We just don’t know how to go from eclipse to eclipse [what color] We’ll get it at Whole Foods. It adds to the fun,” Chester said.
This will be the last time that residents across the United States will be able to see the fully tinted moon until May 14, 2025. But those who missed this observation will be able to see partial and penumbral eclipses between now and then.
There will be faint penumbral lunar eclipses on May 5 and May 6 next year, followed by a partial lunar eclipse next October. 28, but none of these eclipses will make the moon appear red.
“Each eclipse is special because they’re a great opportunity to get out and see the moon, our closest neighbor in space,” Petro said.
In two years, total solar eclipse will travel from Texas to Maine