Mark the calendar for April 15 as the stars align for a total lunar eclipse. The peak time of the eclipse will be at 3:45 a.m. EDT. It will be the first time that this occurs on over 2 years and mark the beginning of a series of lunar eclipses. The last time a total lunar eclipse was visible in the United States was December 11, 2011.
From National Geographic: “During a full lunar eclipse, the moon passes behind our planet so that Earth blocks the sun’s rays from striking the moon. Due to the moon’s tilted orbit around the Earth, this doesn’t occur every month; instead, it usually happens once every few years, though there are sometimes more than one in a year. Unlike solar eclipses, lunar ones are safely visible to the unaided eye. Lunar eclipses don’t always make the scene in skies over heavily populated cities and towns, making next week a special event for sky-watchers. Beyond its occurrence over two heavily populated continents, next week’s event kicks off a lunar eclipse tetrad (group of four). For two years, a lunar eclipse will occur over the Western Hemisphere every six months. In addition to April 14, mark your calendars for this October 8 and for April 4 and September 28, 2015.“
Why does it have the reddish glow?
From the LA Times: “Every time the moon passes completely into the shadow of the Earth, it turns a reddish color — sometimes a bright copper, other times the dark reddish brown of dried blood. The red color occurs because even when the Earth has moved directly between the moon and the sun, the scattered light from all the sunsets and sunrises on the rim of our globe still make it to the moon’s surface.“
Check back for the forecast details as the date nears if your location will be clear through the overnight!
Meteorologist Gretchen Mishek