Did you get the word out that a half moon came along? It’s time to dust off your telescopes and start planning a lunar eclipse party.
A total lunar eclipse — also known as a blood moon — will be visible in the eastern half of the United States on Sunday, beginning at 3:06 p.m. EDT. It’s expected to last about 60 minutes, according to NASA.
Weather permitting, you can watch it online here.
The next total lunar eclipse over the U.S. is expected to occur in 2021. In those three years, you can catch yet another total lunar eclipse over the U.S. – in 2019.
According to NASA, each time there’s a new moon, which is considered a “half moon,” we get the full moon. But during lunar eclipses, the moon is eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow.
Since Earth’s shadow is invisible, only the moon appears red. The color comes from the sun’s scattered light interacting with earth’s atmosphere. Earth’s shadow sometimes reaches a high altitude over the moon, which helps facilitate the process.
While this eclipse will offer a hint of blood red, the total eclipse should have a grayish tint.
“The moon always turns dark first, and the color gradually changes,” NASA says. “But this eclipse will experience a spectacular rainbow effect — from bright yellow to bluish to deep red.”
If you miss Sunday’s event, you can watch NASA’s live coverage of the eclipse here.