Along with ArtPrize, Wednesday will be a colorful morning in West Michigan.

We will be treated to a rare lunar eclipse, one often referred to as a blood moon.

Observers of Wednesday morning's total lunar eclipse might be able to catch sight of an extremely rare cosmic sight. On Oct. 8, interested skywatchers should attempt to see the total eclipse of the moon and the rising sun simultaneously. The little-used name for this effect is called a selenelion, a phenomenon that celestial geometry says cannot happen.

And indeed, during a lunar eclipse, the sun and moon are exactly 180 degrees apart in the sky. In a perfect alignment like this (called a "syzygy"), such an observation would seem impossible. But thanks to Earth's atmosphere, the images of both the sun and moon are apparently lifted above the horizon by atmospheric refraction. This allows people on Earth to see the sun for several extra minutes before it actually has risen and the moon for several extra minutes after it has actually set."

Will we see the eclipse? From the story:

From Toronto and points south through the eastern Ohio Valley and into the Piedmont to the Florida Gulf Coast, a peculiar-looking, waxing crescent moon with its cusps pointing downward will appear to set beyond the western horizon. Farther west, across the western Great Lakes and down through the Deep South to the Gulf of Mexico, the moon will appear to be notched on its lower right side by the shadow.

Going still farther west, the Moon will go down "full," but if the western horizon is haze-free, assiduous observers from much of Minnesota, western Iowa, eastern portions of Nebraska and Kansas as well as central sections of Oklahoma and Texas might still be able to detect a faint penumbral stain on the moon's lower right limb."

And the forecast should cooperate. Yay science!

David Woods/ThinkStock
David Woods/ThinkStock

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