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Lunar eclipse tonight is sight not to miss

Whoever staged the celebrations around tonight’s AFC Championship game between the Chiefs and the Patriots did a great job. Enter…the lunar eclipse.

As seen from Kansas City, the Moon will be high in the sky. For viewers in New England it will be at its highest since John Adams was president. That was a long time before football was invented.

The best thing about this eclipse is that kids will be able to stay up late and enjoy it with their folks. With Monday being Martin Luther King Jr. Day, schools across the nation are closed. It’s a great event because, unlike the solar eclipse a couple of summers ago, this astronomical event does not pose any danger to the eyes when viewed directly and you don’t need any special glasses. Young and old alike can enjoy it at the same time.

The show in the Kansas City region starts at 8:34 p.m. with a penumbra eclipse. At 9:33 the partial eclipse begins then, as the Earth’s shadow encompasses more and more of the lunar surface, by 10:41 the total eclipse begins and lasts until 11:43. Times are are a bit easier the farther east one goes and later the farther west into Kansas.

The best part, of course is that sweet spot between 10:41 to 11:43 p.m., when the eclipse will be total — the entire surface of the moon will be in the shadow, and will glow a brownish “blood” red. The moon will then slowly emerge from the shadow and the world is normal again.

Regardless of any applause, there will be no encore.

Said one astronomer about such a magnificent site in an age of screens, “The eclipse is playing outdoors on every channel,” he said. “It’s big-screen entertainment.”