By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
Early Friday morning, earthlings will experience the longest near-total lunar eclipse in over 700 years.
The astronomical event — in Wyoming — will last just under four hours and at its peak, the moon will be 97% covered.
For us, the show begins at 12:19 a.m. The peak is at 2:03 a.m. And it’s all done at 3:47 a.m.
The good news is that the Cowboy State has front row seats for the action.
The bad news is that our front row seats likely will have obstructed views.
Wyoming meteorologist Don Day was hoping his long-range forecast for cloudy weather during the eclipse was wrong.
Sadly, he was right. Although his viewability grade for the eclipse did move up a notch.
Originally, he said our view would be worthy of a grade of D-plus. Now it’s a solid C-minus.
That’s because high-level clouds are moving into most of the state — and the entire region.
“The problem is, we’re going to have to play tag with the clouds,” Day said. “The cloudiness is certainly going to be there but it probably won’t be continuous cloud cover. There are going to be some breaks.”
“You still might be able to get a good photo and you’ll likely be able to see it,” he said.
Day presented a slide showing the predicted cloud cover when the eclipse begins.
It’s cloudy throughout the region but the lighter shaded areas (see above) is where there will be some breaks, he said.
“Plus, everything will be moving,” Day said. “So there is going to be a bunch of mid to high level-clouds — we just gotta get lucky and catch some breaks,” he said.
Day said “wave clouds,” however, could screw everything up.
Wave clouds are more opaque and toward the end of the eclipse is where parts of Wyoming (east of mountain ranges) may experience them.
“There are always breaks in the clouds so you should get a good glimpse,” he said.