Turn Around, Bright Eyes… Total Eclipse of the Moon Tonight!

A red-orange moon during a previous total lunar eclipse

Bonnie Tyler may not have been sining about the moon in "Total Eclipse of the Heart," but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check out tonights total lunar eclipse.

We’re not going to pretend that we even begin to understand exactly why it will happen, but sometime tonight the moon will turn a bright orangey red. This is because Earth will be directly between the sun and the moon (a lunar eclipse, not a Twilight Eclipse-sorry tween girls), and as a result our planet will cast this reddish shadow over the moon.

This would be pretty cool in and of itself, of course, but it’s even cooler because the lunar eclipse is happening on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. It’s the first time this has happened since 1638, and it won’t happen again until 2094, so keep reading for moon viewing tips.

Unlike the last time the moon did something really cool, this time’s going to be a little on the later side, especially for the eastern United States, where NASA‘s crack team of scientists says that the total lunar eclipse (the “totality”) should run from 2:41-3:53am (1:41-2:53 central!). On the west coast this of course means that things start at a much more appealing 11:41pm, but we suppose it’s about time someone through the west coast a bone since football starts at 10am on Sunday mornings out there.

We’re not sure if we’ll make it up that late tonight, but if you can swing it, tonight’s lunar eclipse should be a rare chance to see something really really cool, provided the weather cooperates. If it doesn’t, you can always watch online.

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