Full lunar eclipse visible tonight, but expect it to be short, says NASA

The celestial spectacle of a full eclipse will be visible for sky gazers around the world beginning at sunset in the Middle East and wrapping up at dawn across Europe. The eclipse is the…

Full lunar eclipse visible tonight, but expect it to be short, says NASA

The celestial spectacle of a full eclipse will be visible for sky gazers around the world beginning at sunset in the Middle East and wrapping up at dawn across Europe.

The eclipse is the first of a pair of celestial events, also called blood moons, that will occur this month. Lunar eclipses occur when the moon’s shadow passes through Earth’s shadow, impacting it with gravity. In what are known as eclipses of the blood moon, the moon is fully shadowed for more than an hour.

The first eclipse begins at 7:11 p.m. EST, with the onset in earnest at 9:21 p.m. EST, according to Weather.com.

This lunar eclipse is the longest of the century. According to Sky and Telescope, this is the full moon that appears at its farthest point from Earth during the eclipse, which is estimated to last about two hours and 37 minutes.

The moon will be at its farthest point in the sky — at apogee — at the time of this eclipse, according to Weather.com.

Video: Watch the moon turn from a ring of light to an orange-red color during the eclipse.

The eclipse begins slowly in the Middle East.

The second blood moon will occur Jan. 31, this time in the United States. The event will also be visible in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.

For those viewing from the Middle East, look toward the east at sunset, but don’t stop to look at the moon at that time, NASA said.

Watch the moon turn from blue and pink to an orange-red color during the eclipse.

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