A total lunar eclipse and blood moon could wow skywatchers Monday night.
However, typical Puget Sound cloud cover is scheduled to return after a weekend of sunny, clear skies — possibly blocking all or part of the show.
“It is always cloudy when exciting things happen for us,” said Alice Enevoldsen, planetarium supervisor for the Pacific Science Center. “I would say don’t give up on it unless it is completely socked in, though.”
The eclipse is scheduled to start at 10:58 p.m. Monday as the moon moves into Earth’s shadow. The total lunar eclipse — when the entire moon is shaded by Earth — begins just over an hour later at 12:07 a.m. Tuesday and lasts until 1:25 a.m.
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Enevoldsen recommends that people check on the eclipse throughout the night because even with a cloud cover, there are often gaps that will allow for glimpses of the eclipse.
“Luckily for us, the moon is going to be fairly high in the sky, so you should be able to see it anywhere,” she said. “Green Lake Park is 24 hours, still, so that is a place you could go if you really want a nice dark, parklike location.”
A total lunar eclipse happens when the moon passes completely into the shadow of the Earth, taking on a reddish color, which has come to be called a “blood moon.” The red color occurs because even when the Earth moves directly between the moon and the sun, filtered sunlight still shines through Earth’s atmosphere, making the moon appear red.
The last total lunar eclipse was Dec. 10, 2011, and was visible in the Puget Sound region because clouds stayed low on the horizon.
Monday’s total lunar eclipse is the first of four that will happen over the next year and a half. NASA says the series is unique because they will all be visible from all parts of the U.S.
The next one will be Oct. 8, 2014, followed by April 4, 2015 and Sept. 28, 2015.
Material from the Los Angeles Times was included.
Coral Garnick: 206-464-2422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @coralgarnick