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First 'Blood Moon' Eclipse Since 2011 In The Sky Tonight

Lunar eclipse over downtown Los Angeles, December 10, 2011. (Photo by shadbro via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Angelenos, look up into the sky just tonight to catch a glimpse at what has been coined a "blood moon." The first total lunar eclipse visible in Los Angeles since 2011 will be in full swing tonight.

The Earth's shadow makes its way across the celestial body starting at 10:20 p.m. tonight and will become a total eclipse at 12:06 a.m. When the Earth's shadow has entirely covered the moon at that time, instead of turning pitch black or invisible, the moon turns a dull red. Or, if you're a Nick Drake fan, pink.

Although the Earth's shadow starts moving across the moon at 10:20 p.m., it isn't until 10:58 p.m. when observers will get the chance to see the penumbral eclipse, or a noticeable "bite" out of the moon. The red coloration of the total eclipse, which peaks at 12:46 a.m. comes from the sunrises and sunsets occurring on Earth. Or as Alan MacRobert of Sky and Telescope magazine tells the LA Times: "If you were standing on the moon during a total lunar eclipse you would see the Earth as a black disk with a brilliant orange ring around it. And this brilliant ring would be bright enough to dimly light up the lunar landscape." The moon will emerge out of the Earth's shadow at 1:24 a.m. with the entire eclipse event ending at 3:37 a.m., according to this schedule from the Griffith Observatory.

Thankfully, conditions should be perfect tonight with mostly clear night skies, though it'll be a bit chilly so don't forget that hoodie. If you want to check out the eclipse from a higher ground, the Griffith Observatory will be open tonight until 2 a.m., but show up early as they expect a large crowd. If you're stuck indoors tonight they also provide a live stream of the eclipse that you can watch online. We recommend finding a rooftop, some friends, comfy chairs, and some warm beverages.

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