When the moon slips into Earth’s shadow tonight, it will be only one performer in a unique celestial dance.
The lunar eclipse nearly coincides with the opposition of Mars, a time when the planet is directly opposite Earth from the sun. So as the eclipse progresses, the red planet will shine brightly above the sliver of moon that remains visible.
And if that isn’t enough, the moon’s darkening will also bring up the lights of Comet Hale-Bopp as it hovers on the northwest horizon.
Things get started about 7 p.m., when the moon enters the darkest part of Earth’s shadow. Comet Hale-Bopp will slide down the northwestern sky as the eclipse goes on, winking below the horizon at 11 p.m. local time.
At 8:39, the eclipse will reach its maximum, obscuring all but a tiny sliver at the top of the moon - about 8 percent of its visible surface.
The eclipse ends as the moon comes completely into view again at 10:21
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