In the early morning of November 8th, the moon will be eclipsed by the Earth. One needs nothing but their eyes to watch a Lunar eclipse – no filters, goggles, or what have you. A solar eclipse is another story. But a lunar eclipse is safe to watch. Another big difference between the two is how long a lunar eclipse takes, about 6 hours, as opposed to a solar eclipse which can be over in a matter of minutes.
The parts of the eclipse I would recommend viewing are:
2:09 am partial eclipse phase begins – this is when the moon is changing color to red or orange. 3:16 am Totality – this is when the moon will be at its deepest color. 4:41 am Total eclipse ends – the colors slowly fade and recede.
There are a bunch more technical phases to a lunar eclipse, but I was always most impressed during the three listed above.
The other highly important point to keep in mind is the weather. Long range forecast predictions are the toughest to make. One that’s for sure - it will be dark ;-) But it will likely be completely clouded over, and it will likely be at or below freezing if any wind picks up.
Eager observers will keep an eye on the clouds right before they lay down for a nap, though they may get up sometime a little before 3:00 am. If they do, they’ll likely look through a window and make their own call whether to go back to bed or to suit up in warm, heavy clothes and go outside for a look. They may possibly grab a set of binoculars or not, because if the moon is visible, your eyes will yield a great view of this really neat natural event.
Leif Edmondson, BAS Vice President