Stargazers in much of North America will have a rare treat early Tuesday morning, but a storm will likely leave South Jersey with diminished or no views. 

The eclipse is set to begin at about 2 a.m. and peak about two hours later, but the arrival of a cold front will inhibit viewing in the area, said Jim Bunker, Observing Program Leader with the National Weather Service's Mt. Holly office. North Jersey and the Poconos are expected to see snow, while South Jersey will see three-quarters of an inch to an inch-and-three-quarters of rain. 

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During the penumbra – the first phase of a total lunar eclipse – a dark shadow will slowly cover the moon. The eclipse will peak at about 3:45 a.m., at which point the moon will enter the Earth’s full shadow, or umbra. Red light from the sun will then reflect off the moon’s surface, causing it to take on a red color.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the earth, moon and sun are in perfect alignment. Such eclipses occur multiple times per year during the full moon, but are rarely visible from start to finish in North America. The continent won’t witness another full lunar eclipse in its entirety until 2019. 

Braden Campbell 

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