When you look up at the full moon on October 8th, it's going to look a bit different due to the total lunar eclipse. Rather than brightly reflecting sunlight, the moon will be reflecting light that has been filtered through Earth's umbra, making it appear rusty and red. This coloration has led some to call it a "Blood Moon." It is safe to view the eclipse with the naked eye, but viewing it through a pair of binoculars or a telescope will bring out a lot of the detail.
This eclipse is actually the second in a tetrad, spaced about six months apart. The first one appeared in April 2014. The next will occur in April 2015, followed by the conclusion of the tetrad in September 2015. This lunar eclipses actually takes place on the night of the Hunter's Moon, which is the name of the full moon that follows the Harvest Moon, closest to the northern autumnal equinox.
The moon will come into a partial eclipse beginning at 5:14 am EDT, and 61 minutes of totality will begin at 6:24 am EDT. Here is the viewing guide for the event:
If you are not able to head outside and view the total lunar eclipse that night, the Slooh Observatory will be doing a live webcast of the event. It will feature commentary from Slooh astronomer Bob Berman, along with Geoff Fox, Paul Cox, Duncan Copp, and other special guests.
“The color of the moon when the eclipse is total delivers an environmental report card about ourselves," Berman explained in a press release. "If the Moon turns coppery red, that’s normal. But a black totality indicates either major volcanic eruptions on Earth, or rare cloudiness surrounding the limb of our planet. This potential variability provides yet another reason to tune in.”
The webcast will begin at 5:00 am EDT on October 8th. Viewers can ask the hosts questions and join in the conversation by using #SloohBloodMoon on social media. Tune in right here: