A combination of photos taken in Islamabad shows the moon in various stages of a total lunar eclipse on June 16, 2011.

A combination of photos taken in Islamabad shows the moon in various stages of a total lunar eclipse on June 16, 2011.

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Total lunar eclipse will be visible in Chicago Sunday night during blood-red ‘eclipse for the Americas’

Around the city and suburbs, a partial eclipse will be visible beginning at 9:27 p.m. Sunday, with the total phase starting at 10:29 p.m. and its peak at 11:11 pm., according to the Adler Planetarium.

SHARE Total lunar eclipse will be visible in Chicago Sunday night during blood-red ‘eclipse for the Americas’
SHARE Total lunar eclipse will be visible in Chicago Sunday night during blood-red ‘eclipse for the Americas’

A total lunar eclipse will grace the night skies this weekend, providing longer-than-usual thrills for stargazers that will be able to be viewed all across North America, Central America and South America with the exception of Alaska.

“This is really an eclipse for the Americas,” said NASA’s Noah Petro, a planetary geologist who specializes in the moon. “It’s going to be a treat.”

The celestial action unfolds Sunday night into early Monday, with the moon bathed in the reflected red and orange hues of Earth’s sunsets and sunrises for about an hour and a half — one of the longest total eclipses of the decade.

Around Chicago, weather permitting, the full moon will seem to slowly begin to creep into Earth’s shadow starting at 8:32 p.m. Sunday, according to the Adler Planetarium, with a partial eclipse visible beginning at 9:27 p.m. Sunday and the total phase starting at 10:29 p.m. Sunday and ending at 11:53 p.m. Sunday.

It also will be the first “blood moon” in a year, when the moon might appear red during totality.

To see the entire spectacle, all you need are “patience and eyeballs,” Petro said.

“This is this gradual, slow, wonderful event that, as long as it’s clear where you are, you get to see it,” he said.

A total eclipse occurs when Earth passes directly between the moon and the sun, casting a shadow on our constant, cosmic companion. The moon will be 225,000 miles away at the peak of the eclipse.

There’ll be another lengthy total lunar eclipse in November, with Africa and Europe lucking out to be able to see that one but not the Americas.

The next one after that won’t be until 2025.

NASA’s asteroid-seeking Lucy spacecraft, launched last fall, will photograph this weekend’s event from 64 million miles away, as ground controllers continue their effort to fix a loose solar panel.

NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, a geologist, plans to set her alarm clock early aboard the International Space Station in hopes of getting to see the eclipse.

“Hopefully, we can be up in time and be at the right place at the right time to catch a good glimpse,” she said.

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