A partial lunar eclipse will cloak half of the moon in darkness Saturday morning. But east coasters and late sleepers will probably miss out.
The sun, moon, and Earth will align for about two hours, projecting a silhouette over our lunar neighbor. In a way, think of tomorrow's event as a planetary "down in front" moment. The sun acts like a massive film projector in a theater, shining light on the moon instead of the big screen. In this case, the Earth is like an audience member, sticking its big head in the way and blocking the light from reaching the moon.
Early birds will first spot the shadow around 3:45 a.m. Pacific Time. The dark patch will spread over the next hour. By 4:38 a.m., about half of the moon will be black. Then, the shadow will recede, disappearing completely shortly after 5:30.
Americans along the East Coast will miss out on this partial eclipse. For them, the moon will be tucked below the horizon Saturday morning. And sky watchers in the Central Time zone will have iffy seats, according to Stardate.org. "Those in the easternmost areas of the time zone, like Chicago and Memphis, won’t see much, as the Moon will have set or be sinking below the horizon as the eclipse begins," reports the astronomy website. "But folks in the central and westernmost parts of the central time zone, including most of Texas, will see the majority of the event."