'Blood moon' will be easy to see overnight

KUSA - You won't need a fancy observatory - the naked eye will do.

"It doesn't even require a telescope," said Robert Stencel, an astronomy professor at the University of Denver.

A lunar eclipse is set to pierce the sky, with a red twist. As the sun aligns with the earth and moon late Monday night, it will create a so-called "blood moon."

"What happens is that the sunlight is still filtering through the Earth's atmosphere-and so, effectively, you're getting all of the world's sunsets shining down on the moon and that gives you just a very faint orange-reddish glow," said Ka Chun Yu, Curator of Space Science at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Astronomers advise the best place to look is simply up.

"By midnight, it'll be at the top of the sky essentially," Stencel said. "All you need is an outside space, a little bit to the south, but mainly overhead, and the moon will be there."

It is the first of four blood moons happening between now and September of 2015, known as a tetrad. Some cultures and religions attach significance to blood moons. Experts said it's all part of a human fascination with the heavens.

"People have associated patterns and changing patterns in the sky with their lives for as long as human culture has existed," Yu said.

However, scientists can learn something from a blood moon, too- including what's happening here on earth.

"Atmospheric scientists like to check the moon's brightness and color because it tells us something about the condition of the air," Stencel said.

Since there hasn't been a lot of volcanic activity around the world affecting air quality, the moon is not expected to take on a dark red hue; it will be more of a faint orange. The eclipse will be at its fullest in the mountain time zone between midnight and 2 a.m. If you miss it, you get another chance to see it this year on Oct. 8 and next year on April 4 and Sept. 28.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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