Total eclipse can be seen by Plumas County residents Saturday morning
This 2003 image shows the ruddy appearance typical of the moon during a lunar eclipse. Photo by Fred Espenak, courtesy NASA
Total eclipse is set to begin at 6:06 a.m. and the Earth’s shadow will completely cover the moon for 51 minutes. All of the United States will see some portion of the eclipse, but the West Coast will have a more complete view.
The most dramatic view will occur as the moon sets and the sun rises.
According to Nancy Jones, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., a lunar eclipse occurs when Earth is directly between the sun and the moon, blocking the sun’s rays and casting a shadow on the moon. As the moon moves deeper and deeper into Earth’s shadow, the moon changes color, turning from gray to an orange or deep shade of red.
The moon takes on this new color because sunlight is still able to pass through Earth’s atmosphere and cast a glow on the moon. The atmosphere filters out most of the blue colored light, leaving the red and orange hues. If there are additional dust particles in the atmosphere, the moon will appear to be a darker shade of red.
Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are perfectly safe to view without any special glasses or equipment. The next opportunity to view a total lunar eclipse from the United States won’t occur until April 15, 2014.