Prepare yourselves for a rare celestial event tonight in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. We have not seen this kind of event since the turn of the decade. It is a total lunar eclipse, and it begins Sunday evening when the Moon, the Sun, and the Earth all line up perfectly to plunge the Moon into total darkness.
Around sunset, the Moon will begin to dim as it enters the penumbra, the place in space where Earth’s shadow begins. The Moon will begin to turn colors from white to a dark yellow and orange. Then, the Moon will enter the umbra or full shadow of the Earth where it will turn into a deep red color. This light that is reflected back to us from the Moon is light that is traveling through Earth’s atmosphere which causes it to turn red. Hence the name “Blood Moon.”
It will remain here for a little over an hour before reemerging into the penumbra on the other side and reversing the coloration process back to white and full.
Area residents may remember a nearly full eclipse back in November, but only 97% of the Moon was in shadow. Prior to that on May 26th of last year, the Moon went through a total eclipse which was not visible locally but could be seen on the west coast.