Total eclipse of the moon arrives late Monday night (tonight)
A total lunar eclipse will occur early Tuesday, just past midnight.
The next total lunar eclipse will occur Oct. 8.
The easiest viewing starts just before midnight on Monday with the start of the total eclipse about an hour later. The total eclipse should end at 2:35 a.m.
“You do not need any special equipment like telescopes or binoculars,” Brummel said of viewing the lunar eclipse. “Dress for the weather, lean back in your deck chair and enjoy nature’s show.”
During a total lunar eclipse, the moon passes directly into Earth’s shadow, and viewers can see the Earth’s curved shadow pass over the moon. Near mid-eclipse, the moon often turns shades of red from sunlight refracting through the Earth’s atmosphere and reflecting off the moon. The term “blood moon” is sometimes used in connection with total lunar eclipses, but it is not a term that scientists use, the university reported.
Exactly how dark or how red the moon becomes during the eclipse depends on how deeply it falls into the Earth’s shadow. But the condition of the Earth’s atmosphere also plays a role.
“If the atmosphere contains a lot of volcanic ash or smoke from forest fires, the moon will appear dark red or nearly black,” Brummel said. “If the atmosphere is relatively clean, the moon will remain fairly bright.”
Best viewing times
Night owls will benefit from a striking view if skies remain clear enough during the lunar eclipse.
- Start of easiest eclipse viewing: 11:58 p.m. Monday
- Start of total eclipse: 1:07 a.m. Tuesday
- Mid-eclipse: 1:46 a.m.
- End of total eclipse: 2:35 a.m.
- End of easiest eclipse viewing: 3:34 a.m.
Source: University of Minnesota, Bell Museum planetarium