Tuesday is Election Day, and for the first time EVER, it coincides with a total lunar eclipse!
Lunar eclipses occur when the sun, the Earth and the moon are in a straight line with the Earth positioned in the middle, casting its shadow on the moon. Unlike solar eclipses, observers can safely look directly at lunar eclipses. Of course, binoculars and telescopes will provide an even closer view.
While it will be chilly for this celestial sight Tuesday morning, clear skies will make for ideal viewing. Temperatures will be in the 30s for most of us, with a northwest breeze 10 to 20 mph, so you’ll definitely want to dress for a winter feel as you head outside. If you want to catch the eclipse, you should set your alarm for sometime between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., depending on what you want to see. Let me explain...
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What time will the lunar eclipse happen?
The moon will begin to enter the outer part of Earth’s shadow at 3:02 a.m. This is the partial eclipse phase. It will look like a bite is being taken out of the moon, according to NASA. Totality (when the moon is fully engulfed in Earth’s shadow) will start at 5:17 a.m. and last until 6:42 a.m. BUT – we will only be able to see it until 6:32 a.m. because that’s when the moon sets in our western horizon on Tuesday morning! So, it’s a fairly short viewing window: an hour and 15 minutes to be exact, though the closer we get to the moon setting, the less you’ll be able to see as it dips below the horizon.
While several partial lunar eclipses will occur over the next few years, this is our last total lunar eclipse until March of 2025! Even more rare, an Election Day total lunar eclipse won’t happen again for another 372 years!
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So happy viewing, and if you snap a picture, send it our way – we’d love to see and share them on NBC10 Boston and NECN.