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Blood Moon total lunar eclipse Sunday night

Posted: 12:53 PM, Jan 17, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-17 12:57:44-05
Lunar Eclipse Forecast

We are keeping our eyes on the forecast for Sunday night as we will be in for a celestial treat. A "Blood Moon" total lunar eclipse will occur. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon enters the earth's shadow. The reason it is Called a blood moon is due to the color the moon becomes in the during the eclipse. It will appear as a reddish or copper in color.

Here is the timeline for the eclipse:

PARTIAL ECLIPSE BEINGS: 10:33 PM
TOTAL ECLIPSE BEGINS: 11:41 PM
MAXIMUM ECLIPSE BEGINS: 12:12 AM
TOTAL ECLIPSE ENDS: 12:43 AM
PARTIAL ECLIPSE ENDS: 1:50 AM

The forecast won't be ideal for viewing. A cold front will move through the area earlier in the day with widespread cloud cover and rainfall. We are expecting skies to clear by Sunday night, the question is to what extent? The GFS American model brings the front through the area earlier in the day with drier air filtering in behind the front and allowing some clearing to occur by Sunday night. The European model is a tad slower with the frontal passage and is subsequently a little slower in clearing out the clouds. Typically in these types of situations, the clouds don't clear out readily as there is a little residual moisture left over in the wake of the front, especially with colder air moving over the warmer Gulf waters. This often leads to a deck of low clouds in the wake of cold frontal passages, especially near the coast, and I feel this may be the case Sunday night. Inland areas may have a better chance to see it as those areas will be farther removed from those clouds. One thing is for sure, you'll need to bundle up as winds will be gusty in the wake of the front and temps will be dropping into the 50s by the time the eclipse is at totality.

At this time, I am giving our area a 30% chance of optimal viewing conditions for the eclipse, with hopes that future trends in the data point toward clearing skies and great viewing for what should be a spectacular show. The next total lunar eclipse that can be viewed from North America will not occur again until May 15-16, 2022.

FOX 4 CHIEF METEOROLOGIST DEREK BEASLEY