Close your eyes, breathe deeply, let your mind wander to a distant seashore: It’s late in the day, and the western sun is sinking into the glittering waves. At your feet, damp sand reflects the twilight, while overhead, the deep blue sky fades into a cloudy mélange of sunset copper and gold, so vivid it almost takes your breath away.
A breeze touches the back of your neck, and you turn to see a pale full Moon rising into the night. Hmmm. The Moon could use a dash more color. You reach out, grab a handful of sunset, and drape the Moon with phantasmic light. Much better.
Too bad it’s only a dream…
Early Tuesday morning, August 28th, the dream will come true. There’s going to be a colorful lunar eclipse visible from five continents including most of North America. . .
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The event begins 54 minutes past midnight PDT (0754 UT) on August 28th when the Moon enters Earth’s shadow. At first, there’s little change. The outskirts of Earth’s shadow are as pale as the Moon itself; an onlooker might not even realize anything is happening. But as the Moon penetrates deeper, a startling metamorphosis occurs. Around 2:52 am PDT (0952 UT), the color of the Moon changes from moondust-gray to sunset-red. This is totality, and it lasts for 90 minutes.
See the article for a full explanation of the event and why the moon experiences such a colorful change throughout. Also take note of where the eclipse will be visible so you can plan accordingly.
Weather permitting, I intend to enjoy this spectacle with all my astronomical and scientific lust, to be an envious consumer gorging at the universe’s board while it serves up a full platter of cosmic wonder.