Early Tuesday morning, the moon will be eclipsed by Earth’s shadow.
This eclipse is the first in a series called a lunar tetrad.
A tetrad is four successive total lunar eclipses, with no partial lunar eclipses in between, each of which is separated from the other by six lunar months (six full moons).
This week’s total lunar eclipse will be visible all across the Western Hemisphere. The full eclipse phase will last 78 minutes, beginning at 3:06 a.m. EDT and ending at 4:24 a.m. EDT.
Bob Allen, president of the La Crosse Area Astronomical Society and retired University of Wisconsin-La Crosse astronomy professor, said the best time to view the eclipse will be between 1 and 4 a.m. Tuesday. The astronomical society watch with telescopes and binoculars, and the public is invited.
“It’s neat stuff,” he said. “And if you’re really into this, you can get outside of the city and be able to see some stars you wouldn’t normally see.”
Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be watched from a narrow path on Earth, lunar eclipses can be seen by observers on the entire night side of planet. Eclipses in the tetrad will happen every six months in a two-year span.
The eclipses are dubbed “blood moons” for the moon’s change in color. Some Christians believe they represent the second coming of Christ.
The Old Testament prophet Joel writes, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD comes,” and a verse in Revelation says, “The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair; the whole moon turned blood red.”
The eclipses coincide with the full moon on Monday’s Passover and the Jewish observance of Sukkot in October, when the next total lunar eclipse will occur.
The National Weather Service predicts partly cloudy skies Monday night with temperatures in the mid-20s.