Total Lunar Eclipse to Wow U.S. Sky Watchers

First of four lunar eclipses takes place early Tuesday

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    NASA scientist Dr. Shawn Domagal-Goldman talks to Alicia Roman about the best time to see the total lunar eclipse in Chicago and where to see it if rain or snow gets in the way. (Published Monday, Apr 14, 2014)

    Get ready for the first eclipse of the year — in color.

    The first of four lunar eclipses known as the "blood moons" will take place on Tuesday, and those living in the U.S. are in for a treat. The eclipse begins at 1 a.m. Chicago time with the reddest part happening around 2:45 a.m. and lasting about an hour, according to NASA. The eclipse ends by around 4:30 a.m.

    "From the Earth you're going to see our shadow creep across the moon," NASA scientist Dr. Shawn Domagal-Goldman said. "If you've got really good vision, you could see some reddish hues on the far right side of that shadow. When the full eclipse happens the whole moon is going to be red."

    Even though the moon is in the Earth's shadow, it should appear a bit colorful. That's from light around the edges of the Earth — essentially sunrises and sunsets — splashing on the lunar surface and faintly lighting up the moon, said Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine.

    What happens if clouds are in the way of the eclipse?

    "NASA does have a backup plan," Domagal-Goldman said.

    Go to nasa.gov/LRO to see the eclipse as it happens.

    In all, four eclipses will occur this year, two lunar and two solar.

    "The most unique thing about the 2014-2015 tetrad is that all of them are visible for all or parts of the USA," said NASA expert Fred Espenak on Nasa.gov. A tetrad is a series of four consecutive total eclipses that take place at six month intervals.