A total lunar eclipse is considered one of the most spectacular astronomical events on the calendar. However, not all folks will get to see it. The eclipse is actually visible only in an area the size of Africa or Latin America! That’s why, should you find yourself in one of the areas with a clear view, you may be in for quite the treat.
Catch our full breakdown of how to watch the total lunar eclipse.
In the U.S., viewers in eastern and central regions (including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia, Ohio, Florida, Louisiana, and Louisiana) have an 80% chance of seeing the eclipse during its peak.
Even with viewing in the 70% range, East Coast viewers will be in for a show! The main bright spot will be the setting sun.
At the peak, the moon will be in the shadow of the Earth. No camera or telescope will take you to the total lunar eclipse. In order to be able to see the moon entering the Earth’s shadow, you will need the Sun’s face and its movement between the Earth and the Moon.
On April 14, 2017, the sun and Earth were perfectly lined up. The Moon will be in a very, very narrow arc with just a sliver of the Sun-facing side visible. If you’ve ever been to a fish fry, the sliver is actually the Moon moving into the sun’s shadow.
While you won’t be able to shoot photos of the total lunar eclipse, we can’t promise it’ll be a bad time. Weather permitting.
With the partial eclipse on April 15, the Moon will be in the Earth’s darkest shadow. And the rate of decline will keep the Moon from entering the Earth’s shadow for about two hours.
During the partial eclipse, the sun, moon, and earth will be close together, which means the moon will appear slightly “moonier.”
Check out the eclipse in 3D at HD TV Sanity’s Lunar Eclipse Simulator for even more details.
If you want to follow in our meteorologist’s footsteps and gather total lunar eclipse night observations, you have until May 12 to do so. If you do so by observing from a different country than the US, you may also be in for a treat.
If you want to use telescope during the eclipse to get a good look at the Moon’s shadow, remember, unless you already possess a license to own a telescope, you are not allowed to do so unless you live in the United States. To find out if you can see the eclipses from somewhere outside of the country, check out the complete list.
Astronomers have cautioned that even though the sun is getting higher during the eclipse, the parts of the moon exposed to its face will appear pink or reddish, which may cause some confusion.