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November 1993 total lunar eclipse.
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Courtesy of Andy Steere

Lunar Eclipse January 20, 2000
News story originally written on January 17, 2000

The last lunar eclipse of the millennium in North America is this week! On January 20, 2000, which is Thursday for those living in North America, a total lunar eclipse will occur.

A lunar eclipse is different from a solar eclipse. During a solar eclipse, the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. During a lunar eclipse, the Earth's shadow blocks the Sun from the Moon. There's another important difference. You need to protect your eyes while viewing a solar eclipse, but you can watch a lunar eclipse with your naked eyes!

The lunar eclipse will start near 10:00 pm ET, when Earth's shadow first touches the Moon. It ends at 1:25 ET and the Moon is completely covered from 11:05 to 12:22 am ET. During the complete cover, a reddish glow will surround the Moon. This is because the Earth's atmosphere scatters blue light.

So, why not take a break from television to witness a very unusual event. If you live in the city, you can still see the eclipse from your own backyard or porch!

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA