Total Eclipse Coming Feb. 20
3 billion could see Earth's shadow blot moon
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2008 6:02 PM CST
The moon is seen being covered by a shadow as the earth passes between the sun and the moon over Angel Moroni statue during a full lunar eclipse seen from Bogota early Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2007. The event...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Nearly half the world's population will find themselves really in the dark Feb. 20 as Earth's shadow totally eclipses the moon, LiveScience reports. Visible to 3 billion residents of North and South America, Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia, the eclipsed moon will create a celestial triangle in the night sky, joining the planet Saturn and the bright star Regulus.

The third such occurrence in a year, the lunar eclipse will begin at 10:01 pm ET. Weather permitting, North American backyard astronomers will be able to observe the entire 51-minute phase, but shouldn't expect utter darkness. The Earth's shadow is never total, and the rays of the sun that slip through our atmosphere will give the satellite a rusty, red-and-orange tint.