Total lunar eclipse

11:58 p.m.: Eclipse begins

1:06 a.m.: Total eclipse begins

2:24 a.m.: Total eclipse ends

Boulder residents hoping to catch a glimpse of tonight's total lunar eclipse won't need to go far or use special equipment to see the astronomical event.

"You don't need to go to a dark place, you don't need to go to a telescope," said Seth Hornstein, observatory and education director for the Sommers-Bausch Observatory at the University of Colorado. "You just need to go outside and look up."

Hornstein said he recommends that people go outside every 10 to 15 minutes starting around 11:58 p.m., when the eclipse begins. The moon will be completely covered by the Earth's shadow at 1:06 a.m., he said, and will stay that way for about 78 minutes.

"Total lunar eclipses are pretty slow-moving events," he said. "Go out every 10 to 15 minutes and you'll watch the moon get, as a third-grader once put it to me, eaten by the shadow."

Tonight's weather forecast calls for mostly clear skies with a low around 25, according to the National Weather Service -- perfect for the eclipse, Hornstein said.

Hornstein explained why the moon appears reddish or orange in color during an eclipse. When light goes through Earth's atmosphere, he said, blue light gets scattered away and red light makes it through. The color can be seen best when the moon is completely covered by the Earth's shadow, he added.

"During an eclipse, only a faint amount of light gets onto the moon," he said. "That light goes through Earth's atmosphere. It's rather faint though, and typically it's more of a burnt-orange kind of color."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106, kutas@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/sarahkuta.