It’s been quite a year for the final frontier. A trio of supermoons, India successfully sent a Mars orbiter to the red planet on the cheap, a satellite is poised to land on a comet and now we have the blood moon lunar eclipse. If space gets any more exciting, we might have to call Harry Stamper to come in and think some shit up for NASA.
Before we get started on tonight’s Blood Moon lunar eclipse, let’s dispel the notion of the blood moon. It isn’t really a thing. It’s the media’s attempt to sensationalize an event. All total lunar eclipses are red.
The reason for the red hue on the moon is the light passing through the Earth’s atmosphere gets refracted. In direct light, this red is washed out, but during a total eclipse, the refracted light is all that gets through. Hence, the red color. To give it some branding, ‘blood moon’ has entered our lexicon and has stuck.
If you are looking for the best seats on Earth to watch the lunar eclipse, I hope you’re heading for Hawaii or are already there. That’s not to say the rest of the United States won’t have a view, it will just have you staying up all night.
People on the West Coast will have the easiest time. The show kicks off at 1:17 a.m. PT and runs through 6:32 a.m. Those of us on the East Coast will have to set our alarms for 4:17 a.m. We won’t get to see the full eclipse, but we will get treated to the rare event of seeing a setting eclipsing moon at 7:01.
How to Watch the Lunar Eclipse.
Luckily for those in urban area, watching an eclipse is easier than a meteor shower. You don’t have to worry about light pollution obscuring the show. All you have to do is forget sleeping tonight, or wake up insanely early.
To those of us that value our sleep schedules more than seeing the ‘blood moon’, the Internet is here to save you. You can claim you watched the whole thing at the water cooler and still get your eight hours of sleep.