Lunar eclipse coming to Jacksonville skies, but so are the party-crashing clouds

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Lunar eclipse comes to Jacksonville skies, but you will have to set your alarms for the wee early morning hours on Friday.

The lunar eclipse officially starts at 1:02 a.m., but it won’t be until 2:18 a.m. that you will really start to see the moon seemingly disappear. The near totality (this is considered to be just a partial eclipse, even though 97% of the moon will be in Earth’s shadow) will take place at 4:03 a.m. At this point, only a sliver of the moon will be exposed, and that too will be faded. Actually, the moon never really disappears. Instead, it will appear somewhat “blood red.”

This discoloration is due to the Earth’s atmosphere.

You see, to have a lunar eclipse, the moon first reaches a full moon location, where it is perfectly aligned with the sun, then Earth, and then the moon. As the moon revolves around the Earth, to create an eclipse, the moon passes through the shadow of the Earth. Without sunlight from the sun beaming down onto the moon, it becomes invisible to see. But, not entirely, as light from the sun also passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, the sunlight is refracted (spread out), revealing mainly red hues.

This is similar to our sunsets and sunrises being reddish.

Just a sliver of light.

But here come the party crashers: CLOUDS!

A cold front will pass through overnight, shifting winds to the north and slowly clearing out the clouds, but the clouds likely won’t break in time for the lunar eclipse viewing.

Better viewing (not great) will be west of Jacksonville.

WATCH: November 2021 partial lunar eclipse timeline

So what to do? Do you set your alarm and get up to view? Or wait for the next one?

If you live in St. Johns County, Clay County, Putnam County or Flagler County, I would wait for the next one just six months from now. This will be a true total eclipse. The downside? May tends to have more clouds (but not by a lot) than November.

I would wait until the May 16, 2022, eclipse.

And this will be a total blood moon eclipse on May 16, 2022.

If you are able to catch a glimpse of the lunar eclipse on Friday, share your photos with us on SnapJAX, and they could be featured on air or online. Get the News4Jax Weather Authority App (Apple, Google) or log in to your Insider profile and upload your pics to SnapJAX.

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