This weekend, a complete lunar eclipse will illuminate the night sky, offering stargazers in North and South America longer than normal thrills.
The moon will be drenched in the reflected crimson and orange colors of Earth’s sunsets and sunrises for roughly 112 hours from Sunday night into early Monday, one of the longest totalities of the decade. It will be the first “blood moon” of the year.
Weather permitting, viewers across the eastern half of North America, as well as Central and South America, will enjoy front-row seats for the whole event. The eclipse will be visible in parts spanning Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
Alaska, Asia, and Australia were left out.
“This is really an eclipse for the Americas,” NASA planetary geologist Noah Petro, who specializes in the moon, said. “It’ll be a real delight.”
“All you need is time and eyes,” he said.
When Earth passes squarely between the moon and the sun, a complete eclipse occurs, casting a shadow on our constant cosmic companion. At the height of the eclipse, at midnight on the East Coast, the moon will be 225,000 miles distant.
“This is this nice, slow, amazing occurrence that you get to observe as long as it’s apparent where you are,” Petro said.
If not, NASA and the Slooh network of observatories will broadcast the eclipse live from different places.
Across November, there will be another long total lunar eclipse, this time in Africa and Europe, but not in the Americas. Then there’s another one in 2025.
NASA’s asteroid-hunting Lucy spacecraft, launched last year, will picture this weekend’s event from 64 million miles away, while ground controllers work to patch a leaky solar panel.
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On the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, a geologist, planned to set her alarm clock early.
“Hopefully, we’ll get up early enough and at the right spot at the right time to get a nice look,” she added.