The moon will pass behind the earth and into its shadow on Tuesday night, appearing to be a rusty red colour against the sky.
In Germany the spectacle is most likely to be admired in the south, though there is a possibility it will be seen around the country depending on tonight's weather conditions, say meteorologists.
The cosmic show is slated to start shortly after 10pm, when the moon will have its first contact with the umbra, or complete shadow, of the earth.
At the height of the cosmic spectacle, at around 11:30pm, nearly two thirds of the moon are covered by the earth's shadow.
Onlookers in the south of Germany will have the best shot of catching the lit-up lunar show.
“The chances are greatest south of the Main [river],” Tobias Reinartz of the German Weather Service (DWD) told Spiegel Online.
Lucky lunar chances
The cloud distribution over Germany is currently divided in two, the meteorologist said. This will also be the case on Tuesday night, when there will be dense clouds over the north of the country.
With luck, however, the cloud cover could also break open to the northeast and allow a view of the moon.
There can only be a lunar eclipse on a full moon, when the moon, earth and sun stand in a straight line.
“The earth illuminated by the sun casts a shadow into space like a sunshade”, explained the Association of Friends of the Stars (Vereinigung der Sternenfreunde) in Heppenheim, Hesse.
This will be the last solar eclipse of any sort clearly visible in Central Europe until May 16th, 2022, according to the association. The next total eclipse visible in Germany will occur on September 7th, 2025.
According to the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), the striking colour of the moon is due to the fact that red light from the sun's rays is refracted in the Earth's atmosphere and directed towards the moon.
In addition, dust and ash in the upper atmosphere will intensify the colouring. According to DLR, the International Space Station ISS will also be visible above the partially eclipsed moon as a bright point of light in the sky.
A historic anniversary
The partial lunar eclipse is not the only reason that the moon is receiving so much hype in the German and international press.
In the early morning hours of July 21st, 1968, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon.
They were followed by 10 more NASA spacemen. Since December 1972 there have been no more people on the moon. But the US government has plans for a return by 2024.
Lunar Eclipse – (die) Mondfinsternis
Umbra/complete shadow – (der) Kernschatten
Upper atmosphere – (die) Hochatmosphäre
Earth’s moon – (der) Erdtrabant or (Der) Mond
Sun shade/sun umbrella – (der) Sonnenschirm