NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Most Dallas, Fort Worth residents should be able to see the moon pass through the Earth’s shadow early Tuesday morning.
The first full lunar eclipse in 372 years on a Winter Solstice should begin at 1:41 a.m. Tuesday and last through 2:53 a.m., a total of about 72 minutes. Well before the total eclipse, there will be plenty of signs to indicate that this evening’s full moon isn’t a run-of-the-mill event. Look for these around 11:30 p.m.
Because the sun’s rays bend around Earth, our planet’s shadow has two distinct parts. The darkest part of Earth’s shadow, the umbra, creates the eclipse.
But around the periphery of the dark umbra is a lighter shadow that will likely resemble a faint halo. This is where partial shadow and sunlight combine to cast a reddish, orange color.
So when the moon pushes into this portion of the shadow, its face will begin changing color. This is called the penumbral eclipse, and it begins at about 11:29 p.m. At 12:33 a.m., the moon moves into the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, beginning the partial eclipse.
The eclipse will last roughly three and a half hours while changes to the moon’s face should last about five and a half hours.
Most in the Dallas, Fort Worth Area should be able to scope the eclipse tonight. The veil of broken clouds across many parts of North Texas throughout the day will dissipate thanks to winds shifting to the southwest overnight, thus bringing in drier air.
However, many residents living east and southeast of our main metropolitan area will likely have to contend with variable clouds throughout much of the night because the winds should remain more southerly.
EDITORS NOTE: A previous version of this story said this would be the first total lunar eclipse in 450 years; this was incorrect. It will be the first lunar eclipse on the Winter Solstice in 372 years, the last happening in 1638 . CBSDFW.com apologizes for the confusion.