When you’re wishing upon the stars tonight, you just might want to give the hoping for Leo DiCaprio’s hand in marriage a break and check out the moon. Tonight marks the first phase of the total eclipse of the moon (not to be confused with Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” for all you 80s music fiends) and if you’re a night owl by nature, you’re going to want to capture this celestial masterpiece with your own eyes. Don’t know much about space (besides what Jim Carey’s moon stunt in Bruce Almighty did to the world)? We rounded up five things you need to know before enjoying the show.
1. North America Is Getting a Great View
If you’re in North America, you potentially have the very best chances at seeing the lunar eclipse. ABC reports that the Western Hemisphere and areas in South America will align with the shadow, allowing you to actually see this scientific movement. They also note that other parts of the world might not even see the total eclipse at all.
2. Blood Moon? What’s That All About?
Because this is a total eclipse, the moon will apparently be blocked entirely by the earth’s shadow. So why will this event have a red-ish tint? According to Space.com, the potential hue results from the “scattering of sunlight through the edges of Earth’s atmosphere.”
3. It’s One of Four
This eclipse is the first in a phase of four, properly named a tetrad, and it hasn’t happened in three years. NPR reports that two will happen in 2014, following by another two in 2015, ending with the final phase in September of 2015.
4. Will YOU Be Able to See It? Do Your Homework
The U.S. Navy Observatory has this really cool tool where you can enter your location and it’ll tell you the approximate times of the moon’s phases. If you’re on the east coast, the moon will apparently be completely blocked (in totality) at about 3 a.m.
5. This Kind of Event Wasn’t Always Considered Cool
National Geographic reports that ancient cultures believed that an eclipse was a dangerous situation. They report that the Inca used to believe that a jaguar ate the moon and would return to attack their people.
Will you be watching the eclipse? Tweet @OKMagazine and leave a comment below.