Don't forget, there is going to be a super rare crazy blood moon tonight.
A dusty red moon known as a "blood moon" will be visible throughout the Western Hemisphere early Tuesday morning, the first of four such lunar eclipses over the next year and a half. The blood moon will appear during what is the first total lunar eclipse in two years. A lunar eclipse comes only when a full moon aligns perfectly with the sun and Earth. During the eclipse, the Earth's shadow is cast across the moon, blocking the rays from the sun. The moon turns red during an eclipse because the sunlight is refracted, similar to the way it is bent during a sunset.
So, when exactly will we feel the cold, dark wrath of the universe raining down on us mere mortals? For those of you who have day jobs, it's going to be a little tricky to catch. (Unless you want to call your boss now and leave a message about how you've squired your loved ones off to a bunker protected by an ancient Druid spell and you can't make it in to work tomorrow because you're going to stand outside and fight the demons of Gehenna sure to be unleashed.) For the rest of you with flexible shifts, Time has the rundown:
Step outside at 3:07 a.m. EDT tomorrow, though—assuming the weather is clear—and you'll see something that almost certainly threw your distant ancestors into a panic. At that moment, the full Moon will complete a transition from its usual silvery white brilliance to an ominous, coppery red. It's a phenomenon known, with appropriate horror-movie overtones, as the Blood Moon.
Totality—the time when the Moon is completely shadowed—lasts less than an hour and a half. But a subtle darkening will start at 12:54 A.M. EDT, as the leading edge of Earth's shadow begins to cover the Moon. The full shadow (or maybe it's the toad) begins to bite at 1:58 A.M. The whole thing is entirely over, with the trailing edge of the shadow leaving the Moon its familiar silvery-white again, at 6:37 A.M. If you miss it all, don't worry: the whole thing happens again on October 8 of this year, and again on April 4 and September 28 of next year.
[T]he Moon, moving on its age-old orbit, will simply pass through the Earth's shadow. The whole thing takes 78 minutes, and during that time the Moon will look utterly weird. It won't go entirely dark because sunlight is scattered as it passes through Earth's atmosphere—the bluer parts of the Sun's rainbow of colors bouncing every which way (which is why the sky looks blue) and the redder parts streaming right through (which is why the Sun and sky look red at sunrise and sunset). That's part of it: the other part is that those red rays get bent as they pass through the atmosphere, just as though they were traveling through a lens—and some of those red rays are inclined at such an angle that they fall on the Moon.
Funny, I do not see Time making any mention of the legions of undead that will rise from the ground to devour the bodies of the living. Journalistic oversight, I guess. I will email their editors immediately and point this out to them.
Image via Getty Images.