Clear skies in New Orleans for Wednesday morning lunar eclipse

Via John Snell
Via John Snell
Photo credit: Reesie Rodrigue Bennett (5:15 on the north shore)
Photo credit: Reesie Rodrigue Bennett (5:15 on the north shore)

Clear morning skies give New Orleans a clear view to Wednesday's lunar eclipse.

Wednesday morning's lunar eclipse was also a 'blood moon.' What makes the eclipsed moon turn red? The answer lies inside Earth's shadow, according to NASA.

"What you're seeing is every sunrise and sunset on Earth--all at once. This ring of light shines into Earth's shadow, breaking the utter darkness you might expect to find there," NASA states on their website. "That same red light plays across the moon when it's inside Earth's shadow."

In addition to the lunar eclipse, an extremely rare cosmic phenomenon will occur on Wednesday morning. Skywatchers may be able to see a total eclipse of the moon while the sun is rising.

The rare phenomenon, called a selenelion, seems impossible due to celestial geometry, according to During a lunar eclipse, the sun and moon are exactly 180 degrees apart in the sky.

However, the phenomenon is possible due to what scientists call 'atmospheric refraction.' A reflection of the sun can be seen for several extra minutes before it rises and the moon remains visible for several additional minutes after it actually sets.

Viewers will have a short window, approximately 2-9 minutes, to simultaneously see the sun rising in the east while the eclipsed moon is setting in the west. The sun is set to rise at 6:58 a.m. Wednesday morning in New Orleans.

The full eclipse starts at 5:25 a.m., according to NASA. The agency adds that the event will be viewed best from the Pacific Coast region. The partial eclipse begins at 3 a.m.

This will be second lunar eclipse of 2014. The last lunar eclipse occurred April 15.

Is it cloudy where you live? Check out NASA's live stream:

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