By Katy Galimberti – AccuWeather
Sky-watchers, get set: A spectrum of lunar events will occur Sunday evening in an event that won’t happen for another 18 years.
A lunar eclipse will coincide with a supermoon on Sept. 27 at 9:07 p.m. EDT. As the moon will be in its closest proximity to Earth, it will appear up to 14 percent larger.
This supermoon, also called a harvest moon due to its occurrence falling at the beginning of the autumn season, will have an extra characteristic.
Known as a blood moon, the moon will pass behind behind the Earth into its shadow, resulting in a red tint across its surface.
By Joe Rao
Stargazers and lunar fans in the Western Hemisphere will have ringside seats for a total eclipse of the moon during the overnight hours of April 14 and 15.
This spectacle of celestial shadows will be the first of two total lunar eclipses in 2014 that will be visible from North America. Unlike an eclipse of the sun, an eclipse of the moon presents no hazards to the viewer. No precautions to protect the eyes are needed.
For the Western Hemisphere, the eclipse will “officially” begin on April 15 at 12:53 a.m. EDT (0435 GMT), when the moon begins to enter Earth’s outer, or penumbral shadow. But even in clear weather, skywatchers will not notice any changes in the moon’s appearance until about 50 minutes later, when a slight “smudge” or shading starts becoming evident on the left portion of the moon’s disk. [Total Lunar Eclipse of April 15 Explained (Video)]
The moon turned a blood red over the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge on NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia in this stunning photo taken by skywatcher George Tucker on June 15, 2011. Credit: George Tucker
The first definitive change in the moon’s appearance will come on its upper left edge. At 1:58 a.m. EDT (0558 GMT), the partial phase of the eclipse will begin as the Earth’s dark shadow, called the umbra, starts to slowly creep over the face of the full moon.
At 3:06 a.m. EDT, the eclipse will reach totality, but sunlight bent by our atmosphere around the curvature of the Earth should produce a coppery glow on the moon. At this time, the moon, if viewed with binoculars or a small telescope, will present the illusion of seemingly glowing from within by its own light.
At 3:46 a.m. EDT, the sun, Earth and moon will be almost exactly in line and the light of the moon will appear at its dimmest. “Totality” ends at 4:24 a.m. EDT, and the moon will completely emerge from the umbra at 5:33 a.m. About 20 minutes later, the last vestige of the fainter penumbral shadow will disappear from the moon’s upper right edge, and the body will return to its normal brilliance.
This NASA graphic shows where the total lunar eclipse of April 14-15, 2014 will be visible from. The lunar eclipse coincides with April’s full moon and is the first of four total lunar eclipes (a tetrad) between April 2014 and September 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Regions of visibility
The entire 78 minutes of total eclipse will be visible from all of North and South America. Totality will also be visible in its entirety from New Zealand and Hawaii. [Amazing Lunar Eclipse Photos: Full Moon of April 2013]
In all, an estimated 922 million people will have an opportunity to enjoy this best part of the lunar show from start to finish. In other parts of the world, only the partial stages of the eclipse will be visible, moonrise or moonset will intervene during the total phase or the eclipse will occur during daytime and the moon is not above the local horizon.
Portions of westernmost Africa can catch the opening stages of the eclipse before the moon sets below their horizon during the morning hours of April 15. A slice of eastern Asia and all of the Land Down Under except Western Australia, meanwhile, can catch the closing stages just after moonrise on the evening of April 15.
Generally speaking, more than 1 billion people will be able to view at least part of this eclipse. But because Europe and most of Asia will be turned away from the moon and will be in daylight during the eclipse, the majority of the world’s population will miss out on this shady celestial drama.
For any one location, total lunar eclipses occur at an average frequency of four or five times per decade. The last total eclipse of the moon occurred on Dec. 10, 2011. The next will occur later this year on Oct. 8. That upcoming one will also be visible from North America, though along the East Coast the moon will set during the total phase.
Interestingly, this month’s total eclipse is the first of four consecutive total eclipses occurring at approximately six-month intervals – a phenomenon called a tetrad. In addition to the two totalities occurring this year, there will be two more in 2015, on April 4 and Sept. 28.
“The most unique thing about the 2014-2015 tetrad is that all of them are visible for all or parts of the USA,” said longtime NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak.
Diagram showing the appearance of the lunar eclipse of April 15, 2014. Credit: F. Espenak/NASA GSFC
Only the shadow knows the moon’s color
Although astronomers do not expect to gain new astronomical insights from the eclipse, lunar eclipses vividly reflect the overall state of Earth’s atmosphere.
Under normal weather and atmospheric conditions, as the moon slides into the shadow of the Earth, the satellite’s normal yellow-white color changes into a dull coppery-red at the height of the eclipse. Since the sun’s rays are bent by Earth’s atmosphere so that some still reach the moon, the moon is still visible during a total lunar eclipse.
However, if a major volcanic eruption has taken place in the weeks or months prior to a total lunar eclipse, a cloud of ash and dust floating high above the Earth could make the moon appear darker than usual during totality; parts of the moon might even become black and invisible.
Or the moon might wear its normal eclipse cloak of a deep red or a coppery hue or take on still other colors (orange, chocolate-brown or gray). Color possibilities are unpredictable since it is impossible to tell exactly how much light Earth’s atmosphere will refract as its shadow creeps across the moon. Cloud cover and other atmospheric conditions may also affect the visibility and coloration of the moon.
In short: We’ll all just have to wait for eclipse night and see what actually happens.
Rare pairing off with a bright star
During the eclipse, no doubt many will take note of a conspicuous star situated just to the right and a bit below the moon. This will be Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo and one of the 21 brightest stars in the sky.
During totality, the contrast in color between the eerie red ball of the moon and this bluish star will be striking. A close approach of the eclipsed moon and a particular star is a rather rare event. It last happened with Spica on the night of April 12 and 13, 1968. The next time a bright star will approach as closely to a totally eclipsed moon will be on Feb. 25, 2510, when the star in question will be Regulus in the constellation Leo.
Space.com will provide tips on how to judge the color and brightness of the upcoming eclipse in an April 11 night sky observing guide, and we’ll also publish an Eclipse Observers Guide on April 13. So stay tuned!
Editor’s Note: If you snap an amazing picture of next week’s lunar eclipse or any other night sky view that you’d like to share for a possible story or image gallery, send photos, comments and your name and location to managing editor Tariq Malik at email@example.com.
More at AccuWeather: Total Lunar Eclipse Will Darken the Moon Tonight
Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York’s Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Natural History magazine, the Farmer’s Almanac and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, N.Y. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.
By Mark Leberfinger
The first total eclipse of the moon since December 2011 will be visible in North America, just in time to greet last-minute tax filers in the United States.
However, many Americans may not be in a good place to see the eclipse because of cloudy and rainy conditions.
The total lunar eclipse, resulting from the Earth’s position between the moon and sun, will occur early Tuesday morning, EDT.
The eclipse will begin at 12:53 a.m. EDT Tuesday. It will reach totality at 3:06 a.m. EDT and end at 4:24 a.m. EDT.
Viewing conditions will be poor in the eastern United States, except for South Florida, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Brian Edwards said.
“A front will stretch from central Quebec down through the Appalachians into the Gulf Coast,” Edwards said. “It will bring clouds, showers and even thunder in the South and mid-Atlantic. It will be mostly dry but clouds will be streaming into New England.”
High pressure systems over the Canadian Prairies, Texas and Oklahoma will be in control bringing clear skies and good viewing conditions to the central U.S. and parts of the Southwest, Edwards said.
“A storm off the Pacific Northwest coast will bring clouds and showers to western Washington and Oregon,” he said.
In addition to the eclipse, Mars will be on a close approach to the Earth, about 57 million miles away.
A lunar eclipse is seen in the sky beside a statue of Buddha in Kurunegala, Sri Lanka, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, the last time there was a total lunar eclipse until the overnight hours of April 14 and 15, 2014. (AP Photo/ Eranga Jayawardena)
More at AccuWeather: Where to See It: Total Lunar Eclipse Coming Tax Day Eve in US
By Liz Bennett
April 15th see the first of a tetrad of total lunar eclipses. This one, according to NASA, will last 1 hour 17 minutes and 48 seconds.
A tetrad is defined as a series of four total lunar eclipse each six lunar months, with no partial eclipses in between them.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth the sun and the moon are aligned in a way that allows the shadow of the earth to fall on the moons surface. The deflected sunlight causes the moon to darken often to a blood red colour, hence the name blood moons.
Some Christian groups see a run of four blood moons, the tetrad, as a biblical prophecy:
“The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” Joel 2:31
The other three eclipses fall on October 8th 2014, April 4th 2015 and September 28th 2015. There is a general belief amongst religious groups that this tetrad is more important due to the fact that the two April eclipses fall on the Jewish feast of Passover and the other two fall on Tabernacles.
This has happened only eight times in 21 centuries…so did anything of world shattering significance happen on any of the other dates?
1. 162-163 C.E. (Common Era)
2. 795-796 C.E.
3. 842-843 C.E.
4. 860-861 C.E.
5. 1493-1494 C.E.
6. 1949-1950 C.E.
7. 1967-1968 C.E.
8. 2014-2015 C.E.
Well no, it didn’t. Of course something happened during all these years. Something, somewhere happens every year. In 162 the Antonine baths at Carthage were finished, and a smallpox epidemic killed millions in China, but generally I can find nothing of religious significance.
In 1967 there was the Six Day War and that’s it. Those that mention the formation of the State of Israel are a year out, that happened in 1948 not 1949. Many have linked other ‘happenings’ but history concurs that the dates don’t fit. I think if God were sending signs that Jesus Christ was about to return to earth he wouldn’t be a year or two out on all the dates.
Scripture mentions the sun, moon and stars often, some feel these references are indicating that the heavens may provide signs of the second coming of Christ. Most of them however mention the stars no longer shining as well as the light from the sun and moon vanishing, which seems to indicate that the tetrad alone is not one of those signs.
In addition Matthew 24:36 tells us that only God himself knows the timing of the second coming:
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my father only.
So, bearing in mind that this tetrad will only give a glimpse of the September 2015 eclipse to Israel, literally the last few minutes before dawn breaks I have my doubts that these signs actually mean anything of great significance.
This article first appeared at Underground Medic: Bad Moon Rising: The April 15th Lunar Eclipse is the First of Four Blood Moons
While not the most spectacular lunar eclipse, the moon still put on a show for astronomy fans on Friday evening.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow. Depending on what part of the shadow the moon passes through will determine how vivid the lunar eclipse is.
“Shadows have three parts–the umbra, penumbra and antumbra, which are used to describe the relation of the shadow to the degree of light casting it,” reported AccuWeather.com Staff Writer Samantha-Rae Tuthill.
“The umbra is where the shadow is deepest, as the light source is fully blocked by the object casting the shadow. The penumbra and antumbra occur on the edges of the umbra where some of the light source lessens the shadow,” Tuthill continued.
“The light cast on the moon during a penumbral eclipse obscures the view of the shadow cast, making the eclipse hard to notice.”
Friday evening’s eclipse was a penumbral one, but some astronomy fans were still able to view and capture the slight dimming of the moon.
Photo taken by AccuWeather.com Astronomy Facebook fan Dana W. in Rhode Island at 8:17 p.m. EDT Friday.
AccuWeather.com Astronomy Facebook fan Barbie Page W. captured this image of the moon in Maine Friday evening.
AccuWeather.com Astronomy Facebook fan Amy K. combined two photos, taken in Mechanicsburg, Pa., to show the moon’s appearance during and after the eclipse.
Photo taken by AccuWeather.com Astronomy Facebook fan Matthew S. in Dryden, N.Y., Friday evening.
Photo taken by AccuWeather.com Astronomy Facebook fan Loretta S. Friday evening.
Upload your own picture of the eclipse to the AccuWeather.com Astronomy Facebook Page.
AccuWeather – PHOTOS: Friday Evening’s Lunar Eclipse
By Samantha-Rae Tuthill
A partial lunar eclipse will be visible Friday into Saturday night for those living from eastern Canada and the upper Northeast to Africa and most of Europe.
At 23:51 UTC, the fullest coverage of the moon by Earth’s shadow will occur, lasting for 239 minutes.
The eclipse will be most visible for the United States and Canada at 7:50 p.m. EDT. Due to the timing of the eclipse, the moonrise will not be high enough for western parts of North America to view; its peak will not reach so far west and will only be visible for Africa and Europe.
Eclipse reach, via NASA/Wikimedia Commons.
For the parts of the United States and Canada that the eclipse will reach, cloud coverage will hinder the view for a large area, especially in Canada. Two slow-moving storm systems will bring rainy and cloudy conditions to much of Canada Friday evening. Some areas in the Saint Lawrence River Valley may get breaks to catch a glimpse of the moon, but most of Eastern and Atlantic Canada will miss out on the viewing.
Conditions will be mostly clear for the small portion of the northeastern United States that the eclipse will extend into.
AccuWeather.com lunar eclipse viewing map for North America.
Unlike viewing a solar eclipse, lunar eclipses may be viewed by staring directly at them. They also won’t require any additional equipment, such as telescopes or binoculars. Areas that have clear skies will be able to see it the same way they’d typically view the moon. Because this eclipse will only have a partial shadow, the difference may not be as noticeable to the general public.
AccuWeather.com lunar eclipse viewing map for Europe.
Most of Europe will have fair to good conditions at the time of the eclipse, where it will be visible at 12:50 a.m. WEST in Lisbon, Portugal, to 3:50 a.m. MSK Saturday in Moscow, Russia. Cloudy conditions will significantly limit visibility to the British Isles and western parts of the Iberian Peninsula, as well as for areas east of the Black Sea.
Lunar eclipses occur about two to four times a year. Some these are penumbral eclipses, which are so subtle that they hardly look like anything to the average observer.
Shadows have three parts, the umbra, penumbra and antumbra, which are used to describe the relation of the shadow to the degree of light casting it. The umbra is where the shadow is deepest, as the light source is fully blocked by the object casting the shadow. The penumbra and antumbra occur on the edges of the umbra where some of the light source lessens the shadow. The light cast on the moon during a penumbra eclipse obscures the view of the shadow cast, making the eclipse hard to notice.
This eclipse will be a penumbra, and astronomers will likely notice it more.
This will be the last lunar eclipse of 2013. The next easily visible eclipse will be April 15, 2014, seen as either a total or partial eclipse from Australia and eastern Asia across the Pacific to North and South America. – AccuWeather