Night owls may see nearly total lunar eclipse early Friday

Minnesota has a chance to see the eclipse in the wee hours Friday.

Lunar eclipse early Friday morning
Lunar eclipse early Friday morning.

You may want to take a nap Thursday.

A nearly total lunar eclipse occurs early Friday morning in the skies above North America. The eclipse will reach 97 percent of totality just after 3 a.m. Friday morning over Minnesota. The partial phases of the eclipse begin at 1:18 a.m. and end at 4:47 a.m. in Minnesota.

The image at the top of this post pictures the eclipse progression from NASA. The times in the image below are UTC, so the peak eclipse time of 9:03 UTC is 3:03 a.m. CST in Minnesota.

At 3:03 a.m. CST at peak eclipse, 97 percent of the moon will be in the Earth’s shadow. So just a sliver of the lower-left portion of the moon should be glowing brightly above us.

Peak eclipse
Peak eclipse.

Breaks in the clouds?

A narrow wedge of high pressure looks likely to slide over Minnesota Thursday night. That should create some clear skies especially in the southwestern half of Minnesota.

Here is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GFS model low-level cloud forecast for midnight Thursday night/Friday.

Low level clouds forecast
NOAA GFS low level cloud forecast for midnight Friday.
NOAA via tropical tidbits

It will be chilly with temperatures in the 20s overnight, but winds should be fairly light. So if you’re up for a late-night event, check out the nearly total lunar eclipse over Minnesota between about 1:15 a.m. and 4:45 a.m. Friday morning.

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