Hundreds of people gathered at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland late Monday to get a glimpse of the moon change color.
The first of four lunar eclipses known as the "blood moons" were scheduled to take place on Tuesday. A rare full eclipse of the moon is expected to turn it red.
"The most unique thing about the 2014-2015 tetrad is that all of them are visible for all or parts of the USA," said NASA expert Fred Espenak on Nasa.gov. A tetrad is a series of four consecutive total eclipses that take place at six-month intervals.
Ken Swagerty used the rare event to spend time with his family at the Chabot Space and Science Center. He brought his home-made telescope and his granddaughter, Lacy.
Tuesday's eclipse started at 2 a.m. EST, according to NASA, when the edge of the moon entered the core of the earth's shadow. The total eclipse occurred at around 3 a.m. for those on the East Coast and at around midnight for those in the west. The event was expected to last about 78 minutes, according to NASA.
A total eclipse takes place when the earth casts a shadow on a full moon. The sunlight on the earth's surface shows up on its shadow and gives the moon a red, coppery glow.
Three more total eclipses are expected on Oct. 8, 2014, April 4, 2015 and Sept. 28, 2015.
NBC Bay Area's Jean Elle contributed to this report.