NASA predicts red or orange lunar eclipse for Wednesday
Canadians from sea to sea to sea should be able to see a red or orange moon Wednesday during a total lunar eclipse — weather permitting.
The partial eclipse will begin at 9:43 p.m. AT (10:13 NT, 8:43 ET, 7:43 CT, 6:43 MT and 5:43 PT), NASA's website said, with the total eclipse, when the moon is completely shaded by the Earth's shadow, beginning an hour and 18 minutes after the partial eclipse.
Residents of the tip of Vancouver Island, the western edge of B.C.'s northern coast and the southwest corner of the Yukon will miss some of the partial eclipse, a NASA map shows.
The total eclipse is expected to last 51 minutes, although the overall eclipse will last three hours and 26 minutes.
The space agency is predicting that "the moon will probably take on a vivid red or orange colour during the total phase" because there have not been any recent gas and dust emissions which block the sunlight and cause "dark" eclipses.
The moon will appear to be red because the only light hitting it "comes from dim sunlight filtered red by Earth’s atmosphere and refracted into Earth’s shadow," Todd Carlson, assistant editor of the Canadian astronomy magazine SkyNews, said in an article on its website.
The moon is visible when it is illuminated by light from the sun. When the sun, Earth, and moon are lined up, with the Earth in the middle, the moon disappears in the Earth's shadow. The moon re-appears as it moves out of the Earth's shadow back into the sunlight.
Carlson said there will be many more stars visible during the total eclipse because of the absence of moonlight.
Saturn should also be visible, he said. "Over the course of the entire night, Saturn will be found slightly to the left of the moon, glowing as a bright yellow 'star.'"
NASA said the eclipse should be visible Wednesday from South America, most of North America and Western Europe, Africa and western Asia.
The 51-minute total eclipse is much shorter than the last lunar eclipse, the 90-minute event on Aug. 28, 2007.The next eclipse is Dec. 21, 2010, NASA said.