Night owls and early risers in North America will be able to watch a rare celestial show on Tuesday as Earth's shadow falls across the moon, shifting its color from bright orange to blood red to brown, depending on local weather conditions.
The lunar eclipse will unfold over three hours beginning at 12:58 a.m. CDT when the moon begins moving into Earth's shadow. A little more than an hour later, the moon will be fully eclipsed and shrouded in a red glow.
The celestial show will be over by 4:33 a.m., according to astronomers at the University of Texas's McDonald Observatory.
Texans will be able to glimpse the eclipse about 2 a.m.
Although such eclipses occur with some regularity, Tuesday's will be the first in a series of four total eclipses in 18 months, a frequency that Frank Cianciolo, senior program coordinator at the McDonald Observatory, told the Austin American-Statesman is genuinely rare. After that, Texans won’t get a good look at a total lunar eclipse until May 15, 2022.
Eclipses occurs two or three times per year when the sun, Earth and the full moon line up so that the moon passes through Earth's shadow.
Tuesday's eclipse will be the last full lunar eclipse visible from the United States until 2019, NASA said.
Weather permitting, the eclipse will be visible from most of the country, with the exception of New England and Alaska.
Alaskans can get a view of the moon rising already partly eclipsed. From New England, the moon sets before the eclipse ends.
NASA plans live coverage of the eclipse on NASA TV, the NASA.gov website and on its social media accounts. Coverage will begin at 1 a.m. CDT.