COLUMBIA, S.C. — It has been almost 4 years since the last total lunar eclipse along the East Coast. This Sunday the moon is expected to pass into the Earth’s shadow.
Liz Klimek, the planetary manager from the South Carolina State Museum, says this will be a sight to see.
“It turns this really cool, otherworldly, reddish orange color so it almost looks like Mars is hanging out in the sky, so it is something really, really cool to see and something that doesn’t happen that often.”
Lunar Eclipses are also known as the “Blood Moon” because of their signature red color.
This happens because the Earth’s shadow is split into two parts the penumbra and umbra which interact with light differently.
“Our atmosphere is really good scattering out the blue light and letting the redder parts of the spectrum through, so that light makes it past the edges of the Earth and gets bent, hits the moon, and then bounces back at us and so you get this reddish orangish light.”
The event begins at 9:32 p.m. but the real fun begins around 10:30 p.m. as the moon begins to pass into the umbra. It will get darker and begin to turn red before the total eclipse begins right around 11:30 p.m. The total eclipse will last over an hour, so there will be plenty of time to view things in the sky.
With all that being said let’s talk about the weather for that night. Right now, the skywatch forecast is calling for partly cloudy conditions. Thankfully this is a long duration event so you should be able to get a view here in the Midlands!
Klimek says the best way to the view the eclipse is to walk outside, but if you want to take a view through the telescope the South Carolina State Museum will be hosting a ticketed event Sunday night to watch the eclipse. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $8 for museum members.
The next full-length total lunar eclipse is March 13, 2025.