A total lunar eclipse occurs tonight (Wednesday, February 20, 2008) for skywatchers in the United States. The total eclipse of the moon will also be visible tonight in most of South America and North America. You can find out when and where with Google Earth Sky .
Here in London, as well as all of Western Europe, Africa, and Western Asia, you can see the lunar eclipse Thursday February 21, 2008.
Hundreds of millions of skywatchers are expected to turn out worldwide. During a total lunar eclipse, the moon can appear blood red, an earthy brown or the color of a blood orange.
The (unofficial) Google Earth Blog discovered a free Google Earth Sky downloadable KML file that shows the exact time and place the lunar eclipse will begin in your hometown.
Naturally Google Earth must be installed on your PC. The only drawback: Google Earth will guess your location on the Earth by your IP address. As search marketers and local search experts know, it’s far from GPS-accurate.
For lucky Google Earthlings: you’ll see an animated lunar eclipse. When the virtual moon is in total eclipse on Google Earth Sky, onscreen you’ll see when you can view the real moon eclipse outside.
NASA lunar eclipse Web page, here.
Remember, it’s not a solar eclipse. You can look straight at a moon eclipse.
The last total lunar eclipse was on August 28, 2007 when the Sun, Earth and Moon were in total alignment. The lunar eclipse still held magic before the birth of Google Earth. In 2001, BBC News reported 1,500 white witches would gather in the UK, Sweden, Iceland, France, Canada and Australia during the eclipse to ward off doom.
Kevin Carlyon, high priest of the British White Witches and the Covenant of Earth Magic, said, “In old days the peasant people used to think that it brought gloom and doom.” And now? Not so much.
Still, there’s no word whether witches will cast their spells on Google Earth tonight.