A worthy reason to wake up early this Saturday morning, December 10th, for us on the West Coast. An epic lunar eclipse will put on a show, the last to be seen until 2014.
"The full moon will pass through earth's shadow... producing a spectacular total eclipse of the moon, about half of which will be visible from Los Angeles before sunrise," explains Anthony Cook in his weekly Sky Report at the Griffith Observatory, which happens to be a good place to check out this event. From 4:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. on their front lawn, there will be a free pre-dawn viewing.
Cook runs down the times of what should be visible in the L.A. area and says things the "dramatic part of the eclipse" begins at 4:45 a.m.
The rooftop Zeiss telescope, Café at the End of the Universe and the Cosmic Emporium store will also be open. The building and exhibits won't be open until 10 a.m. Use the Vermont entrance into the park.
The moon is likely to look much larger than normal because it will be low. The colors should also be vibrant (possibilities include orange to blood red). All this should have photographers' ears perking up, and Gary Robbins over at San Diego Union-Tribune gives some pointers from a sky photographer from Anza-Borrego, one of the best dark sky viewing spots in the California desert. (Share your photos with us in our Flickr pool).
Speaking of which, if you're looking to find some of those great dark sky spots, we've got a list of the seven best in the California desert here.
For the Record: An earlier version of this story said it was a lunar moon. It should have said lunar eclipse.