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How To See Sunday's Total Lunar Eclipse

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Steve Rismiller
/
A composite image of a total lunar eclipse.

Unlike 2017's total solar eclipse, which saw people flock to communities in the path of total darkness, the best way to see Sunday's total lunar eclipse is to simply go outside.You don't need special equipment to view the eclipse, says Cincinnati Observatory Astronomer and WVXU's Looking Up podcast co-host Dean Regas.

"This is when the sun, Earth and moon all line up and the Earth casts a shadow onto the moon and it turns this eerie color when it's in totality, so it's lately been called the 'blood moon.'"

Regas doesn't really like that term but says the moon does turn red and orange and is "such a cool sight to see because it's so rare."

How rare? Regas says the last total lunar eclipse that could be seen in Cincinnati was in 2015 and the next one won't be until 2021.

While you don't need binoculars or a telescope, the Cincinnati Observatory will be open from 10 p.m. to midnight, weather permitting.

The eclipse begins at 10:33 p.m. Sunday with the Earth's shadow first beginning to creep across the moon. The moon will be totally in the Earth's shadow from 11:41 p.m. until 12:43 a.m. before the eclipse ends at 1:50 a.m. Monday.

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Credit Dean Regas
Though not keen on the term 'blood moon,' Astronomer Dean Regas says the moon will turn shades of red and orange during the total lunar eclipse.

For Regas, the precision of the eclipse is what makes it so fascinating.

"I'm pretty nerdy with this stuff," he concedes. "I'm there with my watch and I'm like, 'okay, 10:33 p.m., there it is.' I like that we can predict this ahead of time, and just the whole spectacle of knowing what all is lined up there and that everything has to be so precise for this to work."

Like full moons, there are plenty of myths and legends about strange or unusual things happening during an eclipse, though Regas says he's never seen anything weird. Well, there was this one thing, he says after a beat...

Imagine it: Oct. 27, 2004, 52,000 fans are crowded into Busch Stadium in Saint Louis on a 60 degree fall evening. Pitcher Keith Foulke fields a ground ball in the bottom on the ninth inning, underhands it to the first-baseman Doug Mientkiewicz who tags Édgar Rentería for the third out, handing the Boston Red Sox the team's first World Series title.

Four minutes later in the sky above, the moon began emerging from the Earth's shadow.

Perhaps it took a total lunar eclipse to end the Curse of the Bambino.