You can see the longest partial lunar eclipse in nearly 600 years this upcoming Thursday night into Friday morning.
All the action starts after 1 AM early Friday. At 1:18, the Moon begins to enter the Earth’s shadow, darkening steadily from top to bottom.
After darkening, the Moon will then turn a reddish color. This is caused by sunlight bending through the Earth’s atmosphere, scattering only red light onto the shadowed Moon. (the same way we see red evening skies after the sun sets).
The eclipse peaks around 3:02 AM. About 97% of the Moon will be covered by the Earth’s shadow at this time. Just a small silver slice will peek around the edge.
After that, the Moon slowly reemerges, becoming fully visible again by 4:47 AM.
From the beginning to end, this eclipse will last three and a half hours, the longest since 1440.
Why? Friday morning’s eclipse coincides with the time in the month that the Moon is around its farthest point from Earth. That allows it to spend more time than usual in Earth’s shadow.
How to watch: If you plan to be awake for some eclipse viewing, plan on chilly temperatures in the 20s Thursday night. Skies should be clear. The Moon will be slowly sinking from south to west through the event.