Look to the east at sunset tonight (November 19th) and you will see the Moon rising in near-total eclipse.
The Earth casts a shadow and whenever the Moon's orbit takes it through that shadow, we refer to the event as an eclipse. This requires the Moon's orbit to take it through the cone of shadow, something that only happens occasionally. We refer to a total lunar eclipse when the moon is entirely within the umbral shadow cone and a partial lunar eclipse when the orbit has only part of the Moon within the shadow zone.
Images via Fred Espenak
Tonight's eclipse is almost total – with a peak of 97% of the moon within the umbra.
The eclipse will commence at 07:18 UTC, with the maximum at 09:03 UTC and the end of the eclipse at 10:47 UTC.
Translated to local time for Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales, this is 6:18pm, 8:03pm and 9:47pm; 30 minutes earlier in South Australia, 1 hour earlier for Queensland and 3 hours earlier for Western Australia. Of course the further west you move, the later is the moonrise – Perth will only see a brief duration.
For Melbourne residents, the Moon will rise at 8:09pm, meaning it will be just a few minutes past maximum eclipse as it rises.
North America and the northern Pacific will have the best view, with the entire eclipse visible; while Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East will see none of it.
May your skies be cloud-free.