Moon to turn blood-red on account of total lunar eclipse tonight

A total lunar eclipse expected to create views of a blood-red moon will be visible tonight throughout most of North America, weather permitting.

Such an ideal viewing opportunity will not occur again until 2008, astronomers said. The only area in North America that won't be able to see the eclipse in its entirety will be western Alaska.

In the Pacific time zone, the total eclipse phase will occur from 7:23 p.m. until 8:45 p.m. The faint beginnings of the show, which will start at 6:14 p.m., will not be visible from the West Coast because the moon will not have risen yet. The eclipse will be over by 9:54 p.m., informs The Seattle Times.

According to The State, &to=' target=_blank>lunar eclipses occur when a full moon moves behind the Earth, blocking the illumination from the sun’s rays. They are easily visible without any special equipment, and, unlike solar eclipses, won’t hurt your eyes.

The moon glows full every 29.5 days, when it’s on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun. But eclipses don’t happen every 29.5 days because the moon’s orbit around the Earth is tipped at about a five-degree angle. That puts the moon just above or below the shadow cast by the planet most of the time, said Gary Senn, director of the DuPont Planetarium at the University of South Carolina-Aiken.

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