Keep your eyes to the skies for a rare look at a total lunar eclipse tonight.
The so-called “blood moon” eclipse won’t quite black out the moon. Instead, the moon will take on a reddish, almost bloodlike hue.
Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth passes directly between the moon and the sun. The Earth’s own shadow is cast upon the moon, preventing the moon from reflecting sunlight. As tonight’s lunar eclipse is a total eclipse, the Earth’s shadow, known as the umbra, will completely engulf the moon.
The reddish color comes as the earth’s atmosphere will bend, or refract, some sunlight into the shadow. Effectively, the moon will be covered with two “sunsets,” with light bent around either side of the Earth.
The first shadows should begin to become visible at 10:20 p.m. A partial eclipse will begin at 10:58 p.m. And the total eclipse will kick off at 12:06 a.m., lasting for approximately 78 minutes.
Those who may find themselves stuck indoors can catch an online stream of the eclipse, made possible by NASA, at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc. The stream will begin at 9 p.m.