Wednesday's lunar eclipse will create a 'blood' moon
The second and final lunar eclipse of the year will bring a blood moon that promises to be bigger and brighter than the first. (USA TODAY, USA TECH)
The second — and final — total lunar eclipse of 2014 will occur early Wednesday morning, just before sunrise in the Eastern Time Zone and in the middle of the night on the West Coast.
The moon will appear a coppery red, so it's been called a "blood" moon. It'll look red because of all the sunsets and sunrises from the Earth that will reflect onto the lunar surface. (During the eclipse, although it's completely in the shadow of Earth, a bit of reddish sunlight still reaches the moon.)
You don't need special glasses or gizmos to view it, unlike a solar eclipse, so feel free to stare directly at the moon. Binoculars or a telescope would improve the view.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and the full moon form a nearly straight line so that the full moon passes through theEarth's shadow, called the umbra.
"The eclipse will only be visible in its entirety from parts of eastern Australia, New Zealand, eastern Asia, most of Japan, the Hawaiian Islands and the western part of North America," according to Slooh.com.
Officially, the total eclipse will start at 6:25 a.m. ET (5:25 a.m. CT, 4:25 a.m. MT and 3:25 a.m. PT) and continue until 7:24 a.m. ET (4:24 a.m. PT).
If you're in the central or western parts of the USA, you'll see the total eclipse high in a dark sky well before sunrise, according to Sky and Telescope.
"Easterners will find dawn brightening and the moon sinking low in the west while the eclipse is in progress," Sky and Telescope reports. The moon will set during the eclipse in the East.
Unfortunately, clouds and rain may limit viewing of the eclipse in the heavily populated northeastern USA as a storm system swings in from the southwest, according to AccuWeather.
Much of the southern and central USA will have clear viewing under clear or partly cloudy skies. However, thick clouds and rain could hinder the view of the eclipse over the Southwest.
This full moon is called the Hunter's Moon, which is the full moon that occurs after the Harvest Moon.
The next lunar eclipse will be April 4, 2015.
If you're more into solar eclipses, there will be a partial one visible in parts of the USA later this month, on Oct. 23.
But the next total solar eclipse that's visible in the USA won't be until Aug. 21, 2017.