Known as a Beaver Moon eclipse, the rare celestial event could last up to six hours as the moon passes into the Earth’s shadow, with the sun’s rays turning the color of our closest neighbor from its usual gray into a glowing red.
The eclipse is expected to be visible across the U.S. and parts of South America, Polynesia, eastern Australia and northeast Asia, according to NASA.
Mostly clear skies are expected for much of the Deep South, however a cold front is approaching Thursday that will bring overcast skies to Georgia, but WSB meteorologist Brian Monahan predicts the clouds will clear overnight.
The best time for Americans to see the full phenomenon will be around 4 a.m., but the moon will begin passing into the Earth’s shadow beginning at around 1 a.m.
More than an hour later, around 2:19 a.m., the moon will move into the umbra and create the optical illusion in which the inner part of Earth’s shadow makes the moon appear to change shape. By around 3:45 a.m. the moon should turn a blood red, according to reports.
But it won’t be a total lunar eclipse as only 99% of the moon is expected to pass into the Earth’s umbra, according to space.com.
Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is safe to look at without protective eyewear, although a telescope or binoculars are recommended for the best view.
If you can’t watch the eclipse live, there are ways to see it online. The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles plans a time-lapse video on its YouTube page.
ArLuther Lee is a visual editor and occasionally covers national and world news for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from The University of Florida and has been a journalist for more than 25 years.