Clouds may disrupt – but not shroud – view of lunar eclipse in Wichita

Folks in the Wichita area who stay up late to catch a glimpse of a total lunar eclipse on the winter solstice tonight may have to put up with passing clouds, but not so many that it ruins the celestial show.

“I’d say along and west of the I-135 corridor, they stand a chance to see some or all of it,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Caruso said.

Cloud cover will be more persistent east of Wichita, Caruso said, and southeast Kansas will be “socked in,” he said.

“It looks like, down there by Chanute, they’re probably not going to see it,” he said.

The Lake Afton observatory is in a good spot to gaze the eclipse – the first lunar eclipse on the winter solstice since 1638 – because it’s west of Wichita. The farther west one can go from Wichita the better the chances of persistently clear skies, Caruso said.

The shadow will start to creep across the moon at 12:32 a.m. and disappear at 4:01. The red portion of the eclipse — the “full” segment, when the moon is covered by the Earth’s shadow — is expected to last from 1:41 to 2:53 a.m.

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