A total lunar eclipse visible from North America will begin early morning of April 15 at about 2 a.m. EDT. It will be visible across most of North America, South America, Hawaii and parts of Alaska.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, moon, and Earth align so that Earth's shadow falls across the moon's surface. Monday night's lunar eclipse is a total eclipse, which means Earth's shadow will cover the moon completely.
At 12:53 a.m. ET, the Earth will begin to position itself between the sun and the moon for the first of a series of four total eclipses to conclude in September 2015. The eclipse's peak, when the moon will enter the Earth's full shadow or umbra, will occur at 3:45 a.m.
The moon will pass through the shadow of the Earth starting at 12:54 a.m. until 6:38 a.m., with the best views occurring between 3:07 and 4:25 a.m. NASA will host a live web chat during the eclipse on April 15, at 1 a.m. EDT until the end of the eclipse, at approximately 5 a.m. EDT. The eclipse will be streamed live on the web by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. For streaming video, please visit http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.
The series is a rare occurrence in history, with large spans of time, such as the 300 years between 1600 and 1900, witnessing none. But the 21st century will be more promising, according to Fred Espenak, who works for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and specializes in eclipse predictions.
While the full lunar eclipse is sure to be a breathtaking sight, some Christians are viewing it as a sign of end times. Acts 2:20 reads, "And I will show wonders in Heaven above and signs in the Earth beneath, the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord."
Pastor John Hagee of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, preached about the "Red Moon Prophecies" and explained the sermon in his newest book titled, "Four Blood Moons: Something is about to change."
Because many biblical references cite the celestial bodies, Hagee says, "God uses the sun, moon and stars to send signals to us on the earth."
Among his most inspirational verses is Joel 2:30-31: "And I will show wonders in the heavens ... the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of The Lord."
Depending on local weather conditions, the public will get a spectacular view looking into the sky as the moon's appearance will change from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and perhaps gray.
You can check out the U.S. Naval Observatory's website, where you can enter your city and get data on exactly when you can expect to see the best eclipse views in your area.
Tonight's lunar eclipse is the first of four consecutive total eclipses of the moon between April 2014 and September 2015 in what scientists call a lunar eclipse "tetrad" series. The next total lunar eclipse will occur on Oct. 8 and is also expected to be visible from much of North America.
But the United States will not be able to witness a full lunar eclipse in its entirety again until 2019.