Sky watchers will be on the prowl Tuesday to see the first total moon eclipse of 2014 that will stretch to the early hours of the morning.
Space.com said the lunar eclipse should begin about 2 a.m. EDT
and last about 3.5 hours. If weather allows, the entire eclipse should be visible in most of North America and part of South America.
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Staying up late with other lunar eclipse watchers, NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams and astrophysicist Alphonse Sterling will take part in a live Web chat online starting at 1 a.m. Tuesday through the end of eclipse.
NASA is also setting up a live Ustream view of the lunar eclipse provided by the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
A lunar eclipse, also called a "blood moon," happens when the Earth passes front of the moon, blocking out the sun's light. Those rays bend along the rim of Earth and cast them across the moon in a reddish color.
The "blood moon" is often associated with the supernatural
or particular religious significance for some since all four blood moons coincide with major Jewish feast days between 2014 and 2015, thereby tying in with a prophecy mentioned in the book of Genesis and the Jewish Bible's book of Joel.
"The thing I like to tell people is that it's one of the most democratic of astronomical phenomena," Andrew Fraknoi, chair of the astronomy department at California's Foothill College, told the San Francisco Chronicle
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"Firstly, everyone around the U.S. and Canada will be able to see it. It will be visual over anywhere you can see the full moon. Second of all, you don't need a telescope or binoculars or anything like that. You can just go outside and find the full moon," Fraknoi added.
The lunar eclipse will leave NASA's $504 million Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter moon probe in the dark
for an extended period of time later in the month.
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