How to See the Total Lunar Eclipse from the Bay Area

How to See the Total Lunar Eclipse from the Bay Area

A total lunar eclipse or “blood moon” will be visible across the world early Tuesday morning, and there’s a chance Bay Area astronomers could see it for themselves – weather permitting.

The phenomenon occurs when the Earth aligns with the sun and casts a shadow on the moon. This causes the moon’s surface to appear a reddish, reddish-orange color as atmospheric refraction bends the red hues of sunlight, allowing them to illuminate the moon, said Elinor Gates, an astronomer at the Lick Observatory. on Mount Hamilton. SFGATE on Sunday.

This is the second total lunar eclipse this year and it won’t happen again until 2025.

“These events are great because you don’t need a telescope to see them,” Gates said. “A lunar eclipse progresses very slowly. You can go out, have a look and go back if it’s cold. All you need is clear skies, and it helps not to have too many city lights around to properly appreciate it.

In California, the full eclipse — or the peak phase in which the Earth completely covers the moon — will begin at 2:16 a.m. and end at 3:41 a.m., Gates said, but it will become partially visible by midnight. .

“You’ll see that instead of a full moon, part of the moon won’t be as visible,” Gates said. “It will get fainter and you’ll only see a crescent moon instead as the moon begins to move through Earth’s shadow.”

The dark red hue slowly emerging on the moon is caused by dust, volcanic ash and pollution in the Earth’s atmosphere – the more of it, the redder the moon will appear during the eclipse. But just how noticeable the event will be remains to be seen.

“I would say it’s going to be tough with the weather system coming through over the next two days,” Roger Gass, a National Weather Service meteorologist, told SFGATE on Sunday. “Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll see a big break in cloud cover across the state of California.”

However, it may still be worth taking a look. Unlike other parts of the world, the eclipse should be observable from start to finish on the west coast without interruption.

“The moon will be darkest and darkest at 2:59 a.m.,” Ben Burress, astronomer at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, wrote for KQED on Thursday. “If you only want to wake up for a few moments to catch a glimpse of the eclipse, now is the time to set your alarm clock.”

The Education Center plans to host a total lunar eclipse viewing party on Monday evening from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., with a live presentation led by astronomer Gerald McKeegan at midnight. A partial eclipse is still visible until 5:56 a.m.

“You don’t have to go very far,” Gates said. “If you don’t have too many trees or streetlights, most people can see it from their backyards.”

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