Total lunar eclipse tonight, but will clouds spoil the view?
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The well-advertised total lunar eclipse, the last one visible until 2025, begins tonight and continues through the wee hours of Tuesday. The eclipse can be viewed in its entirety across the entire state. Unfortunately, most of Alaska will be under cloudy skies due to a large storm system moving across the state...with a few exceptions.
The best viewing by far will be over Southeast from Yakutat through Haines, Skagway, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg, and Ketchikan as high pressure still provides mainly clear skies. Bundle up! Temperatures will be in the teens and twenties throughout the region.
The other area of the state that will have a decent view is from the southern Seward Peninsula over a small portion of Southwest Alaska down to the northern part of the Alaska Peninsula.
Clouds will limit the chance to see the eclipse across the eastern two-thirds of the state including Kodiak Island, Southcentral (including the Anchorage area), the Interior (including Fairbanks), as well as the Brooks Range to the Arctic Coast. There are some indications that clouds might thin enough for some dim peeks toward the second half of the event.
Unlike a solar eclipse, no special viewing glasses are needed to see the event with the naked eye. NASA.gov, along with numerous other space webpages and applications will offer live streaming of the event.
Tonight’s eclipse begins at 11:02 p.m. Alaska time when the Earth’s penumbra, or initial faint shadow, begins to cross the visible disk of the moon. The part that begins to draw attention occurs at 12:09 a.m. Tuesday when the Earth’s umbra, or main shadow, begins to darken the moon. This is known as the partial eclipse.
When the Earth is directly positioned with the sun on one side and the moon on the other, the Earth’s complete shadow covers the entire visible disk of the moon. This is “totality,” marking the beginning of the “total eclipse” at 1:16 a.m. until 2:41 a.m. It is during this time that the moon appears with burgundy, or dark red color, hence the term “blood moon.”
Tonight’s eclipse occurs during November’s full moon, which is also known as the Beaver Moon in the United States. According to Space.com, “The Ojibwe people call it Mshkawji Giizis, or “Freezing Moon.” Similarly, the Cree people called it “Kaskatinowipisim” or “Freeze up Moon.”
Additionally Space.com says, “the Tlingit called the 11th full moon Cha’aaw Kungáay, which means ‘bears hibernate,’ according to the Tlingit Moon and Tide Teaching Resource, published by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.”
The next total lunar eclipse will occur the night of March 13-14, 2025, and will also be viewable, weather permitting of course, throughout much of North America, including Alaska and the Arctic.
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