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First-ever Election Day Total Lunar Eclipse comes early Tuesday

Next Weather: WBZ morning forecast for November 8
Next Weather: WBZ morning forecast for November 8 02:45

By Terry Eliasen, WBZ-TV Meteorologist, Executive Weather Producer

BOSTON -- Not only is Tuesday Election Day, but we also will have a total lunar eclipse! 

What are the odds of those two events coinciding? Well, believe it or not, it has never happened before in the history of our country! And, it won't happen again until 2394! I wonder what elections will be like then?

Another note - this will be our last TOTAL lunar eclipse until March 14, 2025!

Lunar eclipses occur when the Sun, Earth and moon become aligned and the moon drifts into the Earth's shadow.

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Lots of things have to go right for a perfect eclipse. First, the relative rarity of the alignment, then the timing has to be right to see the eclipse from any given point on the Earth's surface, and finally, nobody's seeing anything if the weather doesn't cooperate!

Tuesday morning's eclipse will be a much better and longer event in the western United States. Here on the East Coast, the moon will actually be setting as it begins to exit the total eclipse stage. So, I wouldn't call this a "perfect eclipse event," but we will still have several hours to watch it and witness most of the totality portion.

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Here's the timeline for Tuesday morning:

3:02 a.m. 

The moon enters the Penumbra (the outermost shadow of Earth). This is typically very hard to see as the moon is only slightly shaded. Not worth waking up for.

4:09 a.m. 

The moon enters the Umbra (the Earth's inner shadow). This is when the partial eclipse truly begins and it will become clear to the naked eye. In other words, the real show starts now. Get up!

5:16 a.m.

Total eclipse begins! The moon is completely in the Earth's shadow and will have a faint red/orange glow due to the sunlight bending around our atmosphere. Stop pressing the snooze button, this is your last chance to see it!

6:32 a.m.

Sadly, the show is over. The moon will set below the horizon, just about 9 minutes before the total eclipse ends. So, here on the East Coast we will not get to see the moon emerge from the Earth's shadow.

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Now onto the most important question - will the weather cooperate?

YES! A cold front is coming through on Monday that will usher in much cooler (more seasonal) temperatures but will also serve to clear us out of any clouds.

So, as you wake up at 4 a.m. Tuesday, you will need to bundle up! Temperatures will be in the 30s and low 40s with a bit of a gusty wind. 

Skies should be just about clear for all of southern New England. Some models are indicating the chance of some very high, wispy cirrus clouds, but that shouldn't be enough to ruin the show.


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