A total lunar eclipse will be seen over Los Angeles and most of North America beginning Monday night Pacific time.
In Los Angeles, the most impressive part of the eclipse begins at 10:58 p.m. Monday, when the first “bite” is taken out of the moon and spreads across the rest of it, blotting it out completely by 12:06 a.m. Tuesday, the Griffith Observatory said.
Look to the south, and the moon will be roughly 45 degrees up, said Joe Sirard, an amateur astronomer who doubles as a National Weather Service meteorologist in Oxnard.
As the “bite” spreads across the moon, it will transform into a dark “blood moon." It's colored a dark red because all the light from sunsets and sunrises over the rest of the Earth will still color the moon.
The good news for Los Angeles? The weather forecast looks great.
“We’ll have clear skies -- even down to the beaches,” Sirard said.
It’ll also be a great time to see Mars, which will be the brightest point of light near the moon, Sirard said. The second brightest will be the star Spica in the constellation Virgo.
If you go watch the eclipse, try not to be too late, he said. Once the eclipse “becomes total … it might be somewhat hard to see at that point,” Sirard said.
Monday's total lunar eclipse will be the first in more than three years to be visible from Los Angeles and uninterrupted by sunrise. The last one began on the evening of Dec. 20, 2010, with the eclipse’s peak at 12:17 a.m. on Dec. 21, the Griffith Observatory said.
There will be more lunar eclipses soon, but the next two will peak at less convenient times in California -- 3:54 a.m. on Oct. 8, 2014, and at 5 a.m. on April 4, 2015. But on Sept. 27, 2015, an early evening total eclipse will hit its peak at 7:47 p.m.
“We’ve got four in a row that we’re going to be seeing here in North America, which is pretty nice,” Sirard said. “It doesn’t happen too often that we get to see that many in a row.”
If you can’t be bothered to look outside, you can watch the eclipse from the comfort of your computer or tablet. The Griffith Observatory will begin broadcasting the eclipse live at 9:45 p.m. Pacific time.
The Griffith Observatory will also be open late for the eclipse between 7 p.m. Monday and 2 a.m. Tuesday. Officials said to expect large crowds, heavy traffic and long walks from parking spots.
The eclipse begins to end at 1:24 a.m., when the first bit of white moon returns, and completely outshines the blood moon by 2:33 a.m.
Lows Monday night will dip into the 50s, with winds of about 15 mph in the Los Angeles Basin.