Wednesday morning’s skies will be lit up with an unusual occurrence—a total lunar eclipse occurring simultaneously with the rising sun.
On Oct. 8, according to Space.com, many of those who live east of the Mississippi River should be able to see the extremely rare occurrence.
This effect is called a “selenelion,” a phenomenon that celestial geometry says cannot happen.
During a lunar eclipse, the sun and moon are exactly 180 degrees apart in the sky. This perfect alignment, called a “syzygy,” would render the simultaneous observation of the moon and the sun impossible.
But, as explained on Space.com, because of Earth’s atmosphere, the images of the both the sun and the moon are apparently lifted above the horizon by atmospheric refraction. Thus, people on Earth can see the sun for several minutes before it has actually risen, and the moon for several extra minutes after it has actually set.
The window of time to see this rare event, however, is brief: depending on your location, it can be anywhere from 2 to 9 minutes long.
The eclipse, during which Earth’s shadow will obscure the moon before dawn, will, weather permitting, be visible to everyone in North America. For East Coasters, the event will happen around 5 a.m. and continue until sunrise.
According to The Blaze, the lunar eclipse also marks a moon that is classified as a “blood moon.” As the sun’s light scatters off Earth’s atmosphere, the moon will take on a red or orange hue, giving it its popular name, “blood moon.”
The eclipse will be visible across Australia and much of Asia. Europe, Africa and the eastern tip of Brazil, however, will not have a view of the celestial event.
This lunar eclipse will be followed by a partial solar eclipse, visible from the U.S. and Canada, on Oct. 23. Next year will also see two full lunar eclipses.