There's no need to take special precautions to protect your eyes to view the total lunar eclipse, just look up in the sky and enjoy it. Assuming the weather cooperates.

In Illinois, visibility may not be great, with a 20 percent chance of snow showers. If it materializes, Sunday night's snow is expected to follow a winter storm starting Friday afternoon and lasting into Saturday morning. Winter weather is expected to be more intense, cold and stormy due to a fractured polar vortex.

A total lunar eclipse, which only happens during a full moon, occurs when the Earth moves between the sun and the moon, blocking the sunlight normally reflected by the moon, according to the folks at NASA. The Earth's shadow falls on the entire moon and the orb takes on a dark red or copper color (hence the "blood moon" part of this celestial event), as it is illuminated by sunlight filtered and refracted by the Earth's atmosphere.

As for the timing of the eclipse, here's the scoop from My Stateline:

Sunday night, Jan. 20-Monday morning, Jan. 21

  • Partial begins:  8:36 p.m. CST
  • Total begins:  10:41 p.m. CST
  • Peak:  11:12 p.m. CST
  • Total ends:  11:43 p.m. CST
  • Partial ends:  1:48 a.m. CST

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