Shortest total lunar eclipse of the century set for Saturday

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The heavens are providing a holiday treat this weekend, but you’ll have to be quick to catch it.

Weather permitting, sky gazers along North America’s West Coast can enjoy a total lunar eclipse in the pre-dawn hours Saturday.

Scientists expect totality — when the full moon is completely obscured by Earth’s shadow — to last about 4 minutes and 43 seconds, beginning at 4:58 a.m. PDT. Most of the eclipsed moon should appear reddish-orange.

NASA says it’s the shortest one of the century. But, the Earth’s shadow will move across the moon for close to two hours.

The eclipse will be visible Saturday night from Australia and parts of Asia, and deep at night from Hawaii and New Zealand.

In the Midwest, the moon will be close to setting and the sun rising around totality. The eastern half of North America will miss out on the total phase.

A lunar eclipse happens when the sun, Earth and moon form a straight line in space, with the Earth right smack in the middle.

The sun shines on Earth and creates a shadow.

 

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