Clouds may not cooperate for view of lunar eclipse, ‘Blood Moon’
On Monday night, the moon will be eclipsed by Earth’s shadow and will be visible across the western Hemisphere starting at 10:58 p.m. PST Monday when the moon moves into Earth’s shadow.
The total lunar eclipse phase, when the entire moon is shaded by Earth, will begin just over an hour later at 12:07 a.m. Tuesday, and will last for about 78 minutes.
The moon will be rising in the western Pacific, and so only the last half of the eclipse will be visible there. In much of Europe and Africa, the moon will be setting, so there won’t be much, if anything, to see.
Even though the moon is in the Earth’s shadow, it should appear a bit colorful, some shade of red or orange, which is why a total eclipse is also known as a “blood moon.”
Light around the edges of the Earth, essentially sunrises and sunsets, splash on the surface of the moon and faintly light it up, said Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine.
Some cloud cover is expected to return to the Puget Sound area Monday evening, which might make it impossible to see the eclipse.
The lunar eclipse may also damage a NASA spacecraft that’s been circling the moon since fall. But no worries: it’s near the end of its mission.
The robotic orbiter LADEE was never designed to endure a lengthy eclipse. Scientists don’t know if it will withstand the prolonged cold of the hours-long eclipse.
Even if it freezes up, LADEE will crash into the far side of the moon the following week as planned, after successfully completing its mission.
In all, four eclipses will occur this year, two lunar and two solar.
An Associated Press report with contributions from MyNorthwest.com’s Alyssa Kleven