The moon is about to pass through the Earth’s shadow and turn blood-red in the early hours of Saturday morning, in a brief but total lunar eclipse.
The eclipse will be best visible in Western North America, Oceania and Eastern Australia .
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People in many other locations around the world will witness a partial eclipse.
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The total phase of the eclipse will only four minutes and 43 seconds, making it the shortest lunar eclipse of the century
However, the time it will take for the moon to become completely occluded will be abnormally long, taking 102 minutes, writes Space.com. This is because the moon will have just reached apogee, its farthest point from the Earth.
RT report: As the moon skims the edge of the planet’s shadow, it will turn a shade of red.
“This is happening because the sunlight that’s reaching the moon is just the sunlight bending through the Earth’s atmosphere,” NASA scientist Michelle Thaller explained last year. “The same reason that a sunset is red: the Earth’s atmosphere scatters away blue light, but lets red light through.”
The eclipse will be visible from all parts of the US, though those in the east will only see the beginning stages before the 06:16 ET sunrise. People in the west will have a full view of the total eclipse, at 04:58 PT.
While the lunar eclipse is a fascinating astronomical phenomenon, some see deeper religious significance in it. Saturday will be the first night of Passover for the Jews, and Easter Vigil for Christians that follow the Gregorian calendar.
The current tetrad is only the fourth time in 500 years that all four ‘blood moons’ fall on Jewish holidays, one Israeli website reported. It quoted a mystic rabbi from the south of the country, who said the eclipse was a sign Israel faced “great judgment and potential danger.”
Some Evangelical Christian preachers in the US have pointed at the Biblical prophecy that says: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” (Joel, 2:31, KJV).
A full solar eclipse occurred on March 20, in the middle of the current lunar tetrad.
Whatever your religious beliefs, however, it will be a breathtaking spectacle you’ll want to wake up early to see. Just make sure to be outside no later than 4:58 a.m. PDT to watch the transition.