The shortest lunar eclipse of the century on Saturday will come with a "blood moon" for North American sky watchers.
The eclipse is the third in a series of four lunar straight lunar eclipses known as a tetrad, according to NASA
. The eclipse will be visible everywhere in the United States. Some in western South America can see beginning stages of the partial umbral eclipse low in the west before sunrise.
"For a total lunar eclipse to happen, the moon must be full, which means it is directly opposite the sun, with Earth in between," said NASA. "The eclipse happens when the moon moves into the shadow cast by the sun shining on Earth. We don't have an eclipse every month because sometimes the moon is above the shadow, sometimes below.
"During the eclipse, the moon often looks reddish because sunlight has passed through Earth's atmosphere, which filters out most of its blue light. This eerie, harmless effect has earned the tongue-in-cheek nickname 'blood moon,'" said NASA.
"That red light shining onto the moon is sunlight that has skimmed and bent through Earth's atmosphere: that is, from all the sunrises and sunsets that ring the world at any given moment," Alan MacRobert of Sky and Telescope magazine told USA Today
's Miriam Kramer wrote that the eclipse, though, will only last five minutes just before sunrise on Saturday, making it the shortest eclipse of the century.
"People on the West Coast will have the chance to see the moon turn an eerie shade of red during totality, which should begin at about 7:58 a.m. Eastern," said Kramer, meaning the eclipse will appear about 4:58 a.m. Pacific time.
Social media were preparing for the event:
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