lunar eclipse
During a lunar eclipse, the moon ends up cast in and orange/red glow because the only light hitting it is traveling through the Earth's atmosphere. NASA

The end of January is bringing several lunar shows all on the same night. Not only will the moon be full for the second time in just one month, it will also undergo an eclipse.

Not everyone in the United States will be able to see the full eclipse - it will be more easily visible in the western part of the country as well as Alaska and Hawaii. In the continental U.S., the eclipse will only be visible in the early morning hours Wednesday. People in Asia, the Pacific and Australia will be able to see the entire eclipse as well.

When the moon is full late on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, it will perfectly align with the sun and the Earth to cause an eclipse. This means that the Earth will come between the sun and moon, effectively blocking the sun’s light from reaching the moon. The small amount of light that does get around the Earth will pass through the planet’s atmosphere and cause the moon to appear to have a red or orangey color to it.

lunar eclipse diagram
When a lunar eclipse occurs, the Earth moves between the sun and moon and casts a shadow on the moon. NASA

The eclipse will be visible for nearly four hours, according to NASA, but it will only be visible in totality for an hour and 43 minutes. A NASA map shows where the eclipse will be most visible and when depending on the viewer’s location across the country.

The moon will also be in position to look larger than usual because it is the third of three supermoons. This position is called perigee and simply means that the moon is in the part of its orbit that puts it closest to Earth.

During the eclipse, the surface of the moon will change temperatures drastically and researchers plan to study how the surface of the moon changes. The changes in temperature will happen more quickly than they do in a regular lunar day, a little less than 30 Earth days.

How to watch the lunar eclipse

The first thing anyone who wants to see the eclipse should do it check a map to determine the time and visibility of the eclipse where they’ll be. Once that is determined, the viewer should head outside during that time and if it's a clear morning, the moon should be very visible. Unlike the solar eclipse, there is no equipment, like viewers or glasses, that people need if they want to see the eclipse.

NASA will also offer a live stream of the moon beginning at 5:30 a.m. ET Wednesday. The stream will be available on NASA’s website as well as on YouTube.