CHICAGO — Stargazers are in for a celestial treat Tuesday morning when a total lunar eclipse will be visible across North America.
The initial phase of the eclipse will begin around 3 a.m. central time, and WGN News Now spoke to Michelle Nichols, Director of Public Observing at the Adler Planetarium, about what you need to know to view it.
“We have a lunar eclipse that’s happening early morning, Tuesday morning November 8, it will be visible from the Chicago area, weather permitting,” said Nichols. “What’s going to happen is the moon is passing through the shadow cast by earth into space. And so it will slowly slide into that shadow and if we’re lucky we will see what’s called totality. And that’s when the moon is fully within the shadow and that’s when you might see it as red or grey color. So, we’ll see what we get when we spot it.”
The occurrence causes the moon to appear reddish which is why it’s nicknamed a “Blood Moon.”
Nichols said the eclipse can be seen with the naked eye and you don’t need any special equipment to view it.
“At 3:09 a.m. central standard time the moon will start to slide into the earth’s shadow.As the moon fully gets within the moon’s shadow at 4:16 a.m., that’s when we might see that red or grey color, the direction you want to look is initially to the southwest, then as it gets lower in the sky, you’re looking more toward the west and then even lower you’re looking a little bit to the northwest,” Nichols said. “So generally, the west-ish is the direction you want to look.”
Totality will end at 5:41 a.m. central time and as it does, Nichols said the moon will get lower and lower in the sky and start to exit the earth’s shadow around 6:40 a.m.
If you miss this total lunar eclipse, you’ll have to wait three years for the next one.
“The next time we get to see it is very early morning on March 14, 2025. So, if you miss this one, we’ve got to wait until March of 2025 to see the next one,” Nichols said.
Nichols said there will be other total lunar eclipses over the next three years, but not for us because our part of the planet may not be facing the moon when they happen.
Now if you can’t or don’t want to go outside Tuesday morning, you can go to the Adler Planetarium’s YouTube channel and join them live starting at 3 a.m.
You can also send them questions and participate with them in the chat.
In the video above Nichols shares more details about the eclipse and viewing it on YouTube.