Science

Blood Moon: When Will the US Next See a Lunar Eclipse?

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You may well have heard that the July 27 full moon will feature the longest lunar eclipse this century—bathing our rocky friend in a warm, reddish glow. Unfortunately, if you’re watching from the U.S. mainland, you won’t be able to see the blushing orb.

The eclipse will take place between 2.24 p.m. and 6.19 p.m. ET, finishing about two hours before the moon rises over New York at 8.18 p.m. ET. The end of the eclipse is a whopping five hours before moonrise in San Franciso, which will take place at 8.29 p.m PT (11.29 p.m. ET).

Sky watchers in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, much of Europe and Africa and even parts of South America will be treated to at least some of the eclipse. You can check if and when it will be visible in your area at timeanddate.com.

But don’t worry if you’re set to miss out. Lunar eclipses occur multiple times a year, and the U.S. only has a six-month wait before its next blood moon.

The Americas lie in the heart of the viewing zone for January 21, 2019’s lunar eclipse. North and South America, as well as slivers of Europe, Asia and Africa will experience the entire eclipse. Most of Europe and Africa will at least experience parts of the eclipse, but Australia and most of Asia will miss out entirely. You can check whether you will see the January eclipse in your region on this timeanddate.com map.

A blood moon is pictured above Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim Won-Jin/AFP/Getty Images

If you live in the U.S. but can’t wait till next year, you can watch the July lunar eclipse online with live streams from websites including the Virtual Telescope Project (VTP) and timeanddate.com. VTP’s stream will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET and timeanddate.com’s will start at 2.00 p.m. ET.

A lunar eclipse occurs when our planet casts a shadow on our rocky friend, blocking out sunlight. When the whole moon lies within Earth’s “umbra”—the dark, central zone of our planet’s shadow—this is called a total lunar eclipse. The eclipse’s reddish glow occurs when sunlight is filtered and retracted by the Earth’s atmosphere on its way to the moon.

Unlike a solar eclipse, which can damage your eyes, watching a lunar eclipse without protection is perfectly safe.

Although some people think the spectacle will signal an upcoming apocalypse, in reality the July eclipse is just one of five total lunar eclipses Earthlings will witness over the next four years.

NASA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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