Where in the sky to look for tonight's 'supermoon' total lunar eclipse

Lunar eclipse 2014Sri RamarathinamLunar Eclipse October 8, 2014 as seen from Melbourne, Australia.

Tonight’s “supermoon” total lunar eclipse may be a bit harder to find than you might think.

Stretch out your hand and look at a fingernail; that’s about how small the moon will be. A tree, building, or even a slim telephone pole in the distance could easily block your view of the “very rare” astronomical event.

Luckily, there’s Solar System Scope — a free app for Android and iPhone that uses your phone’s compass to help you quickly find where the first “super blood moon” in 30 years will be in the night sky.

Before following our steps below, glance at this map to see if the event will be visible for you. If so, the total lunar eclipse to start at 10:11 p.m. EDT, peak around 10:47 p.m. EDT, and go until 11:23 p.m. EDT. (Use TimeAndDate.com to find the exact time for your region.)

Don’t fret if you live outside a visible zone, it’s too cloudy, or you’re stuck inside: There are two different live broadcast options at the end of this article, and each begins coverage at 8 p.m. EDT.

Keep scrolling to learn how to find out exactly where in your neighbourhood’s night sky the blood-red total lunar eclipse will hang.

First you'll need to download the app Solar System Scope.

Solar System Scope

Head over to Google Play or the iTunes Store to get it.

Google Play

Click to download Solar System Scope for Android or iPhone.

Make sure you accept location services -- this is how the app will know where you are and correctly orient the night sky.

Google Play

Once you open the app, tap the screen.

Solar System Scope

Click the telescope icon to access a live view of the night sky.

Solar System Scope

The screen will show you what's visible right now in the night sky. To see a future view, click the time and date box.

Solar System Scope

Change the date and time to whenever you plan on watching the eclipse. On the US East Coast, totality begins at 10:11 p.m. EDT, peaks around 10:47 p.m. EDT, and goes until 11:23 p.m. EDT.

Solar System Scope

Use TimeAndDate.com to find the exact time for your region.

For New York, we entered 22:11, which is 10:11 p.m. EDT in military time, and the start of totality.

Solar System Scope

Once you enter the time of the lunar eclipse, move your phone around until the moon appears on the screen.

Solar System Scope

Collapse the date-and-time menu. Where you're holding up your phone is where you'll see the moon -- and the total lunar eclipse.

Solar System Scope

Can't see the eclipse in person? The online observatory Slooh will stream a live broadcast starting at 8 p.m. EDT, below.

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Should that feed not work for any reason, NASA is also streaming video of the eclipse beginning at 8 p.m. EDT.

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While you wait for the lunar eclipse to start...

Learn why a lunar eclipse makes the moon appear red, what a supermoon is, and why it will make the event appear larger and brighter than normal.

We've also rounded up some tips on how to photograph the total lunar eclipse during your night under the stars.

Are you taking photos of the 'super' blood moon?

Jennifer Lee

We'd love to share your shots! Please email your favourite highest-resolution images to [email protected] with a full credit, a link to your site or profile (if you'd like), and explicit permission for us to use your work.

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