There is a total eclipse of the moon tonight, and you can watch it live, online, right here.
NASA will be live streaming a view of the the lunar eclipse from the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. The broadcast begins at 11 p.m. PDT on Monday night and continues until 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.
If you have questions about the eclipse, you can address them to NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams and astrophysicist Alphonse Sterling via a live web chat. The chat starts at 10 p.m. PDT and will continue until 2 a.m.
The first faint traces of Earth's shadow will begin to fall across the moon's surface at 10:20 p.m. PDT on Monday night, but the eclipse will begin in earnest around 11 p.m. PDT, when it will look like the moon has had a bite taken out of it. The total eclipse -- when the entire moon is bathed in Earth's shadow -- will start at 12:07 a.m. PDT and lasts until 1:25 a.m.
A lunar eclipse occurs when Earth moves directly between the moon and the sun, casting the moon in a long shadow. The shadow doesn't block out the moon completely, but rather causes it to glow an eerie shade of red. That's because light scattered by Earth's atmosphere still manages to reach the lunar surface.
If you were standing on the moon during a lunar eclipse, you would see Earth surrounded by a fiery ring of orange -- the light of all the sunsets and sunrises at that particular moment in time.
Total lunar eclipses occur about two times a year, but they are only visible from certain parts of Earth. Here in North America, we haven't been able to see a total lunar eclipse since 2011, according to Sky and Telescope Magazine.
If you live in the continental United States, and you've got clear skies, and it's not too freezing outside, we strongly suggest you look away from the computer and up in the sky to experience the eclipse for yourself, at least for a little bit. It's an opportunity that doesn't come along all the time.
Happy viewing! (And happy Passover!)
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