A rare kind of total lunar eclipse will grace skies around the world on Sunday, giving hundreds of millions of people the chance to see it from their own backyards.
On Sunday night (or Monday morning, depending on your time zone), stargazers with clear, dark skies in Europe, Africa, North and South America, parts of West Asia and areas of the eastern Pacific should head outside and look up to see the celestial spectacle.
Even those in major urban areas, from New York to Casablanca and north to London should be able to get a good view, provided the weather cooperates.
You’ll want to see this one, since this is no ordinary lunar eclipse.
The moon will actually be at its closest point to Earth in its orbit, making it a supermoon eclipse — a kind of cosmic coincidence that won’t happen again until 2033.
During a supermoon, the moon looks about 14% larger and 30% brighter than it does when the natural satellite is at its full phase and farthest point from the planet, making this a very special total lunar eclipse.
The partial phase of the supermoon lunar eclipse will begin at about 8:11 p.m. ET, when the Earth starts casting a shadow on the moon.
Interested observers should be able to start seeing a small chunk of shadow biting into the bright moon’s surface at that time. (To find out exactly when you can see the eclipse, you can use NASA’s total lunar eclipse page.)
After that, the show gets even more spectacular.
Totality should begin at about 10:11 p.m. ET, with peak expected at 10:47 p.m. ET, NASA said. During totality, the moon should be a somewhat spooky red color due to sunlight refracted through Earth’s atmosphere.
Most of the other colors of the spectrum aside from red are filtered out during the refraction process, leaving the moon as a dark red orb in the sky.
“This filtering is caused by particulates in our atmosphere; when there have been a lot of fires and/or volcanic eruptions, lunar eclipses will appear darker and redder,” NASA said in a statement.
“This eerie — but harmless — effect has earned the phenomenon the nickname ‘blood moon.'”
Unlike a solar eclipse, you don’t need any special equipment to observe the supermoon eclipse. Simply head outside if you’re in a dark part of the world at the time of totality, and look up at the moon. Wherever you see the moon, you should be able to see the eclipse.
If you aren’t able to head outside for the lunar eclipse, or if you aren’t in a dark part of the world to see it, you can catch the cosmic show live online through NASA.
NASA will host a live broadcast of the supermoon eclipse on NASA TV from 8 p.m. ET through 11:30 p.m. ET.
The space agency’s webcast will feature live views of the moon during the eclipse from Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory, the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and Atlanta’s Fernbank Observatory, plus other locations.