The longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century will take place for roughly four hours tomorrow, July 27, but not everyone will be able to see the spectacular view.
This lunar eclipse, often called a “blood moon” because of the reddish hue that the moon appears to take on as it moves through the shadow of the Earth, will be visible to most places around the world (particularly, the Middle East, Africa, southern Asia, and the Indian Ocean region) but won’t be seen in North America.
For North American residents suffering from an acute case of lunar eclipse FOMO — that is, the fear of missing out on this stunning visual phenomenon — there’s no need to fret. It’ll be a mere six months until North Americans will be able to view a lunar eclipse of their own on January 21, 2019.
This lunar eclipse is especially interesting because it will be a supermoon, which means that the moon will be the closest to the Earth as it can get during its orbit, essentially giving eager lunar observers two astronomical phenomena in one sitting. According to NASA planetary scientist Rick Elphic, who is the Project Scientist for the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer at the NASA Ames Research Center, having a supermoon lunar eclipse is relatively rare.
“It’s usually years between lunar eclipses that have supermoons in them,” Elphic told TIME. “We just happen to be in a seasonal cycle where last year there was one and then this year, there is one and I don’t think there will be another supermoon eclipse for a while.”
Until then, you can watch the July 27 lunar eclipse via live stream and prep for the January 21 supermoon lunar eclipse by reading up on supermoons, here. One thing you won’t have to do to prepare, however, is stock up on eclipse glasses before the big day. Unlike solar eclipses, it’s completely safe to view with the naked eye, although Elphic prefers binoculars.
“The best viewing is with binoculars. Telescopes can be useful but overpowering; if you’re using a telescope, you get a close-up view of the moon, but it’s really a much more dramatic thing to see against the night sky with binoculars. That’s your best bet.”