9 Dec 2011 02:11 PM EST
-by Jennifer Monteagudo, Staff Writer; Image: Lunar eclipse (Image Source: National Geographic)
If you read that headline and now can’t stop singing Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in your head, you’re not the only one (it’s a Friday)...
On Saturday, December 10, a total lunar eclipse will occur. Us New Yorkers shouldn’t get too excited though, as it will only be visible to those in “East Asia, Australia, and the far western portion of North America that includes Alaska and Canada’s Yukon and Northwest Territories,” according to the National Geographic website.
For those who can’t remember 4th grade science (again, you’re not alone), a lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, earth and moon line up in such a way that the earth blocks the sun’s rays from the moon. By stepping in front of the sun, the Earth also ends up casting a red shadow onto the moon. The colored effect accompanies the common “moon illusion,” an optical illusion where the moon looks larger near the horizon than it does higher in the sky. Combined, the view Saturday morning will be quite unique—a humongazoid vampire moon!
Watch the video below for a further scientific explanation of Saturday’s eclipse:
This month’s lunar eclipse is the second this year (the first occurred in the summer), but will be the last total lunar eclipse until 2014, according to National Geographic. However, if you believe in the Mayan prophecy of a 2012 apocalypse, this weekend’s lunar eclipse will be the last on earth, ever!
The eclipse starts before dawn on Saturday, and will be in full effect between 6:05 a.m. and 6:57 a.m., Pacific Time. Unlike a solar eclipse, you’re not in danger of going blind from staring at a lunar eclipse without a camera obscura.
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