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Lunar Eclipse Visible Early Tuesday A.M.


North and South America are gearing up for the first eclipses of the year. But you’ll have to either stay up late or get up early to view it.

Wayne Wooten, an astronomer at Pensacola State College, says the moon will be eclipsed by Earth's shadow early Tuesday morning and will be visible here -- if the weather cooperates.

“In Central Daylight time, we will start noticing the bite about one o’clock, as the Earth’s shadow encroaches on the moon,” said Wooten. “From 2-3:30 it will be entirely in the Earth’s dark red umbra shadow. By 4:30, it will be completely out of the Earth’s dark shadow, and look like the regular full moon.”

The moon will be rising in the western Pacific, meaning only the last half of the eclipse will be visible there. In much of Europe and Africa the moon will be setting, so there won't be much, if anything, to see.

Wooten tells us while we’re enjoying the lunar eclipse, be sure and look for another “red delight” in the sky – Mars.

Tuesday's lunar eclipse may damage a NASA spacecraft – the robotic orbiter LADEE -- that's been circling the moon since fall. That’s no big deal; it's near the end of its mission, and will crash into the far side of the moon the following week as planned.

As we gaze up at the “Blood Moon” early Tuesday, many of us likely will wonder if man will ever return there. PSC’s Wayne Wooten says it’s not likely, that NASA is moving on to other exploration, such as Mars and closer-by asteroids.

In all, four eclipses will occur this year, two lunar and two solar – including a total solar eclipse visible in the Southern Hemisphere on April 29th. The next total lunar eclipse is October 8th and visible from the Pacific Rim; and on October 23rd a partial solar eclipse will be visible from the US and Canada.