For the first time ever, a total lunar eclipse will occur on Election Day, but viewing conditions in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley will be less than ideal to actually see the “blood moon”.
We’ve already seen a total lunar eclipse earlier this year back on May 15, but this particular total eclipse will be the last visible one in the United States until March 14, 2025. Full lunar eclipses are quite rare to fully see in the US, occurring once every 2-3 years on average. It happens when the Earth is located squarely in between the sun and moon, keeping sunlight from reaching the moon. This is different from a solar eclipse, when the moon is in between the sun and Earth, which prevents sunlight from reaching us!
The Earth’s umbra passing directly over the moon is the reasoning for the red hue that is seen during a total lunar eclipse, and why many call it a “blood moon”. This happens during the maximum eclipse, which is the peak time for viewing. For Tuesday morning, the total eclipse will begin at 4:16 A.M. and end at 5:41 A.M., with the maximum eclipse occurring at 4:59 A.M.
Viewing conditions won’t be great this time in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley. Overcast skies are expected across the entire area, with very little breaks in the cloud cover as a weak frontal boundary crashes the party. If you are able to see anything out there, send us your photos to the Northwest Arkansas Weather App or firstname.lastname@example.org! Happy viewing!