Lunar eclipse visible in Michigan tonight: When and how to see it

Eclipse to be visible overnight Thursday into Friday

A lunar eclipse (WDIV)

It is something that only happens a couple of times each year if we’re lucky: a lunar eclipse.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth passes between the sun and the moon, resulting in the earth’s shadowing being cast upon the moon. Whenever this occurs, the moon’s surface looks light black or even red at times.

Now because of the orientation as well as the distance between the earth and the moon, this will not be a total eclipse for us, but rather a partial lunar eclipse. At its maximum, 97 percent of the moon will be covered by the earth’s shadow.

When to see the eclipse

For us, this event occurs overnight Thursday into Friday morning. The eclipse begins at 1:02 a.m. and is called the “penumbral eclipse.” The partial eclipse (part where the shadow starts to really take over the moon) starts at 2:18 a.m.

Then, in the next hour and 46 minutes, the moon will get darker and darker until the eclipse reaches its maximum, which is at 4:02 a.m. At this point, because of how light is being bent around and through the earth’s atmosphere, the moon will take on a bit of a red tint.

The partial eclipse ends at 5:47 a.m. and the penumbral eclipse ends at 7:03 a.m.

Partial lunar eclipse timing in Michigan. (WDIV)

The timing of this eclipse makes it fairly unique, in that it lasts so long. From the start to the end, the partial eclipse will last 3 hours and 29 minutes, but the total time of the partial eclipse will last six hours and one minute.

This is unusual, as most lunar eclipses tend to last about half that time.

Now, as we all know, weather tends to play tricks on us with these cool celestial events. As for the forecast, we are tracking rain Wednesday into early Thursday, so the hope is that the clouds will break overnight Thursday into Friday. The latest forecast suggests that the clouds should break enough to see the eclipse, but a few clouds may be around at times overnight.

(Track weather here, or by downloading the free Local4Casters app.)

If you can’t make it out to see this eclipse, or simply don’t want to wake up at 4 a.m. to see it, you can catch the next one on May 15-16, 2022. In fact, that eclipse will be a bit better, as it will be a total lunar eclipse. It will also occur shortly after midnight, so you won’t have to get up in the middle of the night to see it.

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