For the second time in six months, the moon will appear to turn a coppery red color overnight when a lunar eclipse becomes visible over the Southland.
The early stages of the second and final eclipse of the year will begin at 1:15 a.m. Wednesday, but the drama will begin about an hour later when the moon moves into the darker part of the Earth’s shadow, called the umbra.
The full eclipse, when the Earth’s shadow is completely covering the moon, is expected at 3:25 a.m. and will continue until almost 4:25 a.m.
“It’s a lot of fun to go outside and see what color the moon will be,” said David Reitzel, Griffith Observatory’s astronomical lecturer. “Depending on whether there are clouds or pollution in the sky, the moon can turn various shades of red. You never really know until you see it.”
The phenomenon of the “blood moon,” in which the moon takes on a coppery red color, is caused by the Earth’s shadow falling over the moon as it blocks out the sun. Light passing through Earth’s atmosphere lends the moon its reddish glow.
Tonight’s event is the second in a “tetrad” series of four such events, spread over the course of 18 months. The first in the series took place in April with sequels to tonight’s red moon expected next April and September.
Lunar eclipses are safe to watch without any protective wear.
The weather is expected to be ideal to view the moon with mostly clear skies overnight, and lows in the 50s and 60s.
— City News Service