Luna turns blood red this weekend: ‘Eclipse for the Americas’

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida. — a totally lunar eclipse will grace the night skies this weekend, providing longer-than-usual thrills for stargazers in North and South America.

The celestial action plays out from Sunday night to early Monday morning, with the moon bathed in the reflected reds and orange hues of Earth’s sunsets and sunrises for about an hour and a half, one of the longest totalities on Earth. the decade. It will be the first so-called blood moon in a year.

Observers in the eastern half of North America and all of Central and South America will have privileged seating for the entire show, weather permitting. Partial stages of eclipse It will be visible in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Excluded: Alaska, Asia and Australia.

“This is really an eclipse for the Americas,” said NASA’s Noah Petro, a planetary geologist who specializes in the moon. “It will be a pleasure.”

All you need, he noted, is “patience and eyes.”

A total eclipse occurs when the Earth passes directly between the moon and the sun, casting a shadow on our constant cosmic companion. The moon will be 225,000 miles (362,000 kilometers) away at the maximum point of the eclipse, around midnight on the US East Coast.

“This is a gradual, slow, wonderful event that, as long as it’s clear where you are, you can see it,” Petro said.

Otherwise, NASA will provide a live feed of the eclipse from various locations; so will the network of Slooh observatories.

There will be another prolonged total lunar eclipse in November, with Africa and Europe getting lucky again, but not the Americas. So the next one isn’t until 2025.

Launched last fall, NASA’s asteroid-hunting Lucy spacecraft will photograph this weekend’s event from 64 million miles (103 million kilometers) away, as ground controllers continue their effort to repair a panel. loose sun.

NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, a geologist, plans to set her wake-up call early aboard the International Space Station.

“Hopefully we can get there on time and be in the right place at the right time to get a good look,” he told The Associated Press earlier this week.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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