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Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight

Mother Lode moonwatchers will be treated to a celestial show tonight. A total lunar eclipse will be visible across the United States – the first total eclipse to be seen in the U.S. in three years. It also will be visible in western Europe and southern Africa.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon passes into the shadow of the Earth and is blocked from the sun´s rays that normally illuminate it. In North America, the moon will remain totally eclipsed for 53 minutes but won´t appear totally blacked out. Instead, it should turn a ruddy red color, darkening along with the sky as it approaches totality at 8:40 p.m. Pacific time.

In the Mother Lode, the eclipse gets under way just as the sun sets and the moon rises. Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye.

On the Net: Naval Observatory: {url:aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/LunarEclipse.html}http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/LunarEclipse.html{/url}

Griffith Observatory: {url:www.griffithobs.org/lunareclipse.html}http://www.griffithobs.org/lunareclipse.html{/url}