Photo Credit: GRAWLLF (iStock).

Photo Credit: GRAWLLF (iStock).

A once-in-a-lifetime lunar event is just hours away, but Coloradans might not even get the chance to see it.

A near-total lunar eclipse is set to occur in the early morning hours of Friday – at about 2 a.m. – when just 3% of the moon will appear to be illuminated. Unfortunately, the extremely late (or early) timing of the event won't be what makes spotting this one unlikely.

Forecasters are predicting that quite a bit of cloud coverage will be present throughout the entire state on Thursday night, ramping up into Friday morning. This may block the visibility of the moon altogether.

If the forecast is wrong, Coloradans will get the chance to see the longest partial lunar eclipse in more than 500 years with a length that will then go unmatched until 2669. Other cloud forecasting services show clouds rolling in a little later on Friday morning, which would be a scenario that still allows the event to be viewed in most parts of the state.

If the event is visible, expect Earth's penumbra, which is the lighter outer part of the shadow that the planet will cast on the moon, to start covering the moon at 11:02 p.m. Thursday. At 12:18 a.m. Friday, the partial lunar eclipse will begin. The maximum lunar eclipse will take place at 2:02 a.m., with the partial eclipse ending at 3:47 a.m. and the penumbral eclipse ending at 5:03 a.m.

Stay up-to-date with the cloud forecast here.

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations, often found reporting on outdoor recreation news. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run.

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