The final lunar eclipse of the calendar year will appear overnight Sunday into Monday.
While the eclipse is set to be the longest of the year, spanning four hours, 20 minutes and 59 seconds, it may be tough to see.
Locally, the eclipse will begin at roughly 11:32 p.m. Sunday and end at 3:53 a.m. Monday. The maximum eclipse will occur at 1:42 a.m. PST, according to Space.com.
Per Space.com, lunar eclipses occur when the Earth’s shadow blocks the sun’s light, which otherwise reflects off the moon. There are three types of eclipses — total, partial and penumbral — with the most dramatic being a total lunar eclipse, in which Earth’s shadow completely covers the moon.
The upcoming event will be a partial penumbral eclipse of the full moon, according to EarthSky. That means the moon will move through the “faint outer part of Earth’s shadow,” and will decrease the moon’s brightness, according to The Weather Channel.
The change won’t be dramatic, but it will be visible in North and South America — depending on the weather, according to Space.com
“It’ll be the faintest of eclipses — nearly imperceptible — so that some of you will swear nothing is happening even while staring straight at it,” reports EarthSky. “Then again… observant people may notice a subtle shading on the moon, even without knowing an eclipse is taking place.”
During Sunday’s event, about 82% of the moon’s face will turn a shade darker during the maximum phase of the eclipse, according to timeanddate.com.
If the penumbral eclipse becomes deep (the penumbra covers a bit more than half of the moon), viewers might be able to notice a slight darkening at the edge of the moon in the deepest part of the shadow.
Those interested in viewing the event can use an eclipse animation tool to see how the eclipse will appear as the Earth’s shadow moves across the face of the moon. To use the tool, visit https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/.
Though it is considered to be “the faintest of eclipses,” mostly clear skies are expected Sunday night into Monday, according to the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
In January 2019, a spectacular total lunar eclipse, referred to as a super blood moon, was observed in the local skyline.
Although it was a total eclipse, the moon never completely darkened, but rather took on a coppery red glow called a blood moon. The next total lunar eclipse visible in North America will come in 2022.