The first total eclipse of 2014 is poised to show itself Monday night in the form of a dark red "blood moon."

In California, the most impressive part will begin at 10:58 p.m. when the first "bite" is taken out of the moon. It will be blotted out entirely by 12:06 a.m. Tuesday, said experts at the Griffith Observatory.

Look to the south for the moon, said Joe Sirard, an amateur astronomer who doubles as a National Weather Service meteorologist in Oxnard.

As the "bite" spreads across the moon, it will transform into a dark "blood moon." The dark red hue will come from the light of sunsets and sunrises over the rest of the Earth.

The weather forecast for prime "blood moon" viewing in Sonoma County will be spotty. Forecast shows for partly cloudy skies after 8 p.m. With high hopes, the area will still be able to get a view of the lunar eclipse.

As long as the weather cooperates, it will also be a great time to see Mars - the brightest point of light near the moon, Sirard said. The second brightest will be the star Spica in the constellation Virgo.

If you plan to watch the eclipse, try not to be too late, he said.

Once the eclipse "becomes total … it might be somewhat hard to see at that point," Sirard said.

Monday's total lunar eclipse will be the first in more than three years to be visible from California and uninterrupted by sunrise. The last one began on the evening of Dec. 20, 2010, with the eclipse's peak at 12:17 a.m. on Dec. 21, the Griffith Observatory said.

There will be more lunar eclipses soon, but the next two will peak at less convenient times in California -- 3:54 a.m. on Oct. 8, 2014, and at 5 a.m. on April 4, 2015.

But on Sept. 27, 2015, an early evening total eclipse will hit its peak at 7:47 p.m.

"We've got four in a row that we're going to be seeing here in North America, which is pretty nice," Sirard said. "It doesn't happen too often that we get to see that many in a row."

If you're looking for a local place to get a more detailed view of the eclipse, the Robert Ferguson Observatory in Kenwood will have three telescopes open for public viewing. The observatory is located at 2605 Adobe Canyon Rd., and the cost is $3. Visit for more information.


<i>Crissi Langwell contributed to this report.</i>