Rained out for the total lunar eclipse? Here're places with the best chance to see it

FILE - The moon turns red during a total lunar eclipse in Giv'atayim, Israel, Friday, July 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Clouds, be gone!

That’s the hope among sky watchers for this Sunday night, as there will be a total lunar eclipse.

Unfortunately, they’ll need the likes of a magic wand to keep the clouds at bay.

The forecast calls for clouds and rain west of the Cascades.

OMSI had planned a free Total Lunar Eclipse Viewing party, but by early Friday afternoon it had decided -- based on multiple forecasts -- to cancel the event.

For the best chance of seeing the eclipse, a trip east of the Cascades is necessary.

KATU Meteorologist Dave Salesky says the Cascades make a rain shadow, a drier area created when mountains hold back weather systems. For the best chance of seeing the eclipse, he recommends Goldendale, Washington or places in Oregon like Madras or John Day.

Even if it’s cloudy in those places, there may be breaks in the clouds long enough to catch a glimpse of the eclipse from time to time.

You can also take a chance and travel to Seattle. There’s a 50-percent chance of clear skies there during the eclipse.

If you can’t or don’t want to go anywhere, all hope is not lost. Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will be providing a live stream of the eclipse. Click here for that.

The Essential Details:

The eclipse gets underway at 7:33 p.m. Pacific Time. At that time, the darkest part of the earth’s shadow, called the umbra, will just begin to kiss the full moon’s limb. The moon will be fully eclipsed at 8:41. Totality will last 62 minutes. The eclipse ends at 10:50 p.m.

During totality, the moon will appear reddish in color. This is because the light from the sun is being scattered by the earth’s atmosphere, bathing the surface of the moon with the light from our planet’s sunrises and sunsets.

This total lunar eclipse has been called a super moon. That’s because the moon will be at its closest to earth for the month. In astronomical terms that is known as perigee. So, the moon will appear a little larger than usual.

If you do get a chance to observe the eclipse, you’ll need no special equipment. Just look up at the moon. It’s reflected light from the sun won’t harm your eyes.

And if you happen to be at a place where you can see the eclipse, don’t forget to snap a picture or record some video. Then submit it to us via Chime In.


Keeping Track of the Weather:

In addition to getting the latest forecast from KATU this weekend, you can also get forecasts tailored to astronomers.

ClearDarkSky.com provides 48-hour forecasts for more than 5,300 observatories and observing sites in North America. The site also provides other astronomical and meteorological information.

Here are links to some forecast charts for areas in Oregon and Washington.

All sites for Oregon

All sites for Washington

The next total lunar eclipse for the Portland area is May 26, 2021.

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