No need to fear blindness (or apocalypse) from Saturday night's total lunar eclipse. Earth's shadow will completely block the face of the moon from reflecting the sun's light for one hour and 13 minutes on March 3. "Europe and Africa have the ringside seats," says Fred Espenak, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "[But] every single continent will see at least part of the eclipse."

That is rare, as most eclipses can only be viewed from certain vantage points on Earth. Contrary to rumor, the moon will not go completely dark. Rather, it will glow in a dim light that will probably be a reddish-orange in color, although it can be as dark as an ashen gray, depending on the amount of light-scattering dust in the atmosphere. Observers in Europe and Africa will be treated to Earth's shadow creeping across the face of the moon, while those of us in the Western Hemisphere will see a rising orb that is already at least partially blocked. Early risers in Australia and Asia can catch the eclipse before the moon sinks below the horizon.

In the U.S., the eclipse will be mostly visible in the eastern half of the country, commencing at 4:30 P.M. EST (21:30 UT), hitting total eclipse at 5:44 P.M. EST (22:44 UT) and passing back to full illumination at 8:50 P.M. EST (01:50 UT). "The total eclipse will be in progress just at sunset," Espenak says. "You'll have to be patient for the sky to get dark enough to pick out the moon."

Sky watchers west of the Mississippi will miss this lunar show, but another eclipse on August 28 will favor them (if they choose to be awake at 2 A.M. PDT (08:51 UT to be exact). Such eclipses may no longer be mysterious but they remain spectacular. "This is something that really puzzled the ancient Greeks," Espenak says. "They are basically just natural phenomena. I encourage anybody to go out, watch and enjoy."