A spectacular total lunar eclipse will grace the skies over the Bay Area on Tuesday, November 8th, ending just an hour before the polls open for Election Day. This unique celestial event, won’t appear again until March 14th, 2025, so don’t miss this chance to witness the phenomenon.
What is a total lunar eclipse?
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Moon align so that the Moon passes into Earth’s shadow. NASA describes a total lunar eclipse as when “the entire Moon falls within the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, called the umbra. When the Moon is within the umbra, it will turn a reddish hue. Lunar eclipses are sometimes called “Blood Moons” because of this phenomenon.”
When will the lunar eclipse happen?
Time and Date predicts that Tuesday’s lunar eclipse will reach its peak in SF at 2:59am and remain there for nearly an hour. Here’s a breakdown of the eclipse timeline:
- 12:02 am – Penumbral Eclipse begins
- 01:09 am – Partial Eclipse begins
- 02:16 am – Total Eclipse begins
- 02:59 am – Maximum Eclipse
- 03:41 am – Total Ecplise ends
- 04:49 am – Partial Ecplise ends
- 05:56 am – Penumbral Eclipse ends
Why does the moon turn red?
The phenomenon is called Rayleigh scattering, which NASA explains as “light travels in waves, and different colors of light have different physical properties. Blue light has a shorter wavelength and is scattered more easily by particles in Earth’s atmosphere than red light, which has a longer wavelength.”
During a lunar eclipse, the only light that reaches the moon passes through Earth’s atmosphere first. The amount of dust in Earth’s atmosphere has a direct impact on how red the lunar eclipse will appear.
Where is the best place to view the lunar eclipse?
Luckily for us on the West Coast, as we reach maximum eclipse the moon will be floating directly above us. There’s no need to head to Bernal Hill or Ocean Beach to get a great view, just find a nice open area and look up! The less light pollution the better, but As long as the weather behaves it promises to be an incredible display.
Featured image: Shutterstock