Lunar eclipse
The moon turns coppery red during the April 2014 lunar eclipse. Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referenced the western horizon. The moon will be visible on the eastern horizon.

The moon will turn a coppery red on Sunday night during a rare total eclipse, but San Diegans will get just a short peek at the spectacle.

Earth’s neighbor will be just barely over the horizon and still in twilight when total eclipse begins at 8:29 p.m. Pacific time. If you have a good view of the eastern horizon, you’ll see the blood red color until 9:53 p.m., after which it will fade.

Skies are forecast to be partly cloudy along the coast and inland, but clear in the mountains and deserts.

NASA explains that a total eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon align so that the Moon passes into Earth’s shadow.

The red color is because the only light from the Sun reaching the moon first passes through Earth’s atmosphere, which scatters blue and passes red, a phenomenon that also produces red sunsets.

The eastern half of the United States and all of South America will have an opportunity to see every stage of the eclipse, but San Diego is just too far West this time.

If you want to take a photo, NASA suggests using a camera on a tripod with exposures of at least several seconds

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.