A total lunar eclipse, also called as ‘Full Pink Moon’ or ‘Blood Red Moon’ or ‘April’s Full Moon’ is expected to occur on April 15 at 3:42 a.m. GMT. The eclipse will be visible in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the Pacific region, where it will last about 77 minutes.
The total lunar eclipse will last from 3:07 a.m. until 4:25 a.m. EDT (0707-0825 GMT), while partial phases of the eclipse will be visible for a few hours before and after this stretch.
During this time, the Moon will be having a red shade as Earth is positioned directly between the moon and sun. As a result, the sun’s rays are blocked from reaching the moon directly. Instead, the light is reflected off Earth. The reflected rays of light cause the moon to glow with an orange-red tint.
Two factors affect an eclipse’s color and brightness. The first is simply how deeply the Moon goes into the umbra — the umbra’s center is much darker than its outer edge, reports Sky and Telescope. The second is the state of Earth’s atmosphere. If the air is very clear, the eclipse is bright; if it’s mostly cloudy (or polluted with volcanic ash from a major eruption), the eclipse will be dark red, ashen gray, or almost black.
If you miss this one, another solar eclipse will occur two weeks later, though very few people will get to appreciate its full glory, Space.com reports. On April 29, an annular or “ring of fire” eclipse will be visible from a small patch of Antarctica, perhaps briefly confusing some penguins around the time of greatest eclipse, 2:04 a.m. EDT (0604 GMT).
The lunar eclipse will mark the first of four expected within the next two years. Called a tetrad, this is quite uncommon.
“During the 21st century, there are 9 sets of tetrads, so I would describe tetrads as a frequent occurrence in the current pattern of lunar eclipses,” explained Fred Espenak, who studies lunar eclipse patterns at NASA. “But this has not always been the case. During the three hundred year interval from 1600 to 1900, for instance, there were no tetrads at all.”
“The most unique thing about the 2014-2015 tetrad is that all of (eclipses) are visible for all or parts of the USA,” Espenak added.
The three other eclipses in the “tetrad” will be on October 8, April 4, 2015 and September 28, 2015. All will be visible in at least part of the United States.
Then on April 22, 2014, between these two eclipses is the Lyrid meteor shower, which occurs each year in April when Earth plows through debris shed by Comet Thatcher.
“The Lyrid meteor shower will be best seen in the early morning hours of April 22nd,” Nancy Calo said. “Expect to see up to 20 bright meteors per hour after midnight.”
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