If one total lunar eclipse this year just wasn’t enough for you – you’re in luck! The “blood moon” returns to Hawaii late Tuesday night and our islands are perfectly placed for viewing. This time it occurs two days after perigee – the point on the moon’s elliptical path when it is closest to earth – and will therefore appear 5.3% larger than the total lunar eclipse we saw in April (pictured above).
Viewing the total lunar eclipse will run from 11:14pm October 7th to 2:34am on October 8th – the ‘total’ phase runs from 12:21am to 1:24am – that’s when the moon could look a deep orange, reddish or even black in color. Hence the name “blood moon.” Sometimes the moon even seems to vanish entirely. At this point the entire moon is in the earth’s dark inner shadow.
The eclipse actually starts earlier & ends later than the times mentioned above but to the naked eye the change is negligible. For the first & last hour of the eclipse, during the penumbral phase, you wouldn’t notice anything anyway. The moon will be just starting to move into – and will be almost done moving out of – the penumbra, or outer shadow, of the earth. It looks “normal” during those times.
The partial phase of the lunar eclipse begins at 11:14 p.m. when the moon starts to enter the earth’s “umbra,” or dark inner shadow. During this phase, it looks like someone is taking more and more of a “bite” out of the moon as the moon slides deeper into the umbra. Another partial phase begins after the total phase is complete. The second partial phase runs from 1:24am to 2:34am on October 8th as the moon slowly returns to its normal state.
The rest of Polynesia will have a great view of the eclipse, as well as most of Japan and easternmost Asia. The eastern 1/4 of Australia will see the total eclipse but for the west coast the moon rises during the early partial phase. On the mainland, the west half of North America will get a nice view of this eclipse. The moon will set during totality for the eastern half of Canada, the US and Southern America. The eclipse will not be viewed from Europe, Africa and the Middle East.