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Blood Moon Returns: Total Eclipse On Wednesday Will Be A Rare 'Selenelion'

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- California and several other states in the western United States are getting front row seats early Wednesday morning to the second and final total eclipse in the "Blood Moon" tetrad series of 2014.

The lunar eclipse will begin at 1:15 a.m. and end at 6:33 a.m. Pacific Time. The maximum eclipse will occur at 3:54 a.m PT, but low visibility due to patchy fog could hinder viewing opportunities.


2014 Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse From Around The World by KPIX CBS SF Bay Area on YouTube

During the time of the total eclipse, the moon will look reddish because of the sunsets and sunrises from the Earth reflecting onto the lunar eclipse. The phenomenon, which can only happen when the Earth and moon are perfectly aligned, is expected to last in between 2-9 minutes and can be seen with the naked eye.

Wednesday's total lunar eclipse could be more even more special if a selenelion occurs, according to A selenelion is a phenomenon that celestial geometry says cannot happen. It occurs when a viewer can see the moon and the sun at the same time, thanks to a visual trick by the Earth called atmospheric refraction. But it can only be viewed between 10 to 15 minutes before sunrise.

It's the second in a sequence of four called a "lunar tetrad" that occur in about six-month intervals, according to UC Riverside. After Oct. 8, another lunar eclipse happens April 4 of 2015, but it will only be visible as a partial eclipse from the west coast.  Finally, on Sept. 27, 2015 the final of the four Blood Moons will be visible.

NASA will be streaming webcasts of the total lunar eclipse as viewed live in different parts of the world, beginning at 12 a.m. PT.

NASA | Understanding Lunar Eclipses by NASA Goddard on YouTube



While the "blood moon" talked about in Biblical prophecy may have a more powerful pull on our psyche, it's actually relatively common, hitting every few years.

BIBLICAL PROPHECY: Author Writes About "Four Blood Moons" 

The next spectacle in the sky is a solar eclipse on April 29th, but it will only be visible in Australia and parts of the Indian Ocean.

The better chance to see a solar eclipse in California will be on October 23rd, when a partial solar eclipse will reach its peak at 2:45 p.m.

SOLAR ECLIPSE: NASA Eclipse Coverage 

NASA ECLIPSE SITE: Information For Astronomers

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