The largest-ever municipal bankruptcy petition in U.S. history faces a watershed moment on Tuesday, as the judge overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy case is scheduled to rule whether the city is eligible for protection from creditors - an event that has citizens, public officials, creditors, retirees and others awaiting the judge's words and preparing responses.

[UPDATE: He issued the ruling. Information about the decision here.]

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes has scheduled a hearing for 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT) on Tuesday to announce his decision, which will be followed by the release of a written opinion.

Rhodes' ruling will begin a new chapter in the case that first arrived in federal court with Detroit's July 18 bankruptcy petition. If Rhodes rules Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy, which most experts expect, the city will begin working toward its next major move, the submission of a plan to readjust its more than $18 billion in debt.