Parties will look to night sky for first of four 'blood moon' eclipses

If you can stand the cold, this should be a good night to view the total lunar eclipse.

The National Weather Service in Kansas City said via Twitter that it will be clear and cold at midnight.

The “clear” part is good news for those wanting to see the eclipse. The “cold,” not so much.

During the eclipse, the moon’s appearance will change from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and perhaps gray.

For Kansas Citians willing to brave temperatures in the upper 20s, there will be watch parties where people will be able to get a close-up view early Tuesday morning.

The Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium at Union Station announced on its

Facebook page

that it would host an informal watch party for the eclipse beginning Monday night into Tuesday morning.

People are invited to show up around midnight at the parking lot outside of the planetarium, where a few telescopes will be set up to view the eclipse and other objects in the spring sky.

A watch party is from 2 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. at Knob Noster State Park, 873 S.E. 10th St. in Knob Noster, Mo.

The free “Full Moon, No Moon, Mars and More” program will be presented in the park’s special-use area by local astronomers led by Grant Miller, named a solar system ambassador by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

There will be telescopes and binoculars. The eclipse will be visible by the naked eye as well.

Although the event is scheduled to start at 2 a.m., people will be there earlier to answer questions.

“People should dress warm, bring a snack and a hot drink,” Miller said.

The penumbral eclipse begins around midnight, the partial eclipse about an hour later and the total eclipse at around 2 a.m. The total eclipse lasts for 78 minutes.

This eclipse is the start of a lunar eclipse tetrad, a series of four consecutive total eclipses.

The other three will be Oct. 8; April 4, 2015; and Sept. 28, 2015.

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