Originally published on Sat April 12, 2014 7:34 am
If you're willing to stay up late and the skies are clear early next week, you can catch the first total lunar eclipse in more than three years that's visible throughout North America.
The total eclipse, the first visible throughout the U.S. since December 2012, will peak at about 3 a.m. EDT.
Earthsky.org says the April 14-15 eclipse "begins a lunar eclipse tetrad — a series of 4 consecutive total eclipses occurring at approximately six month intervals. The total eclipse of April 15, 2014, will be followed by another on Oct. 8, 2014, and another on April 4, 2015, and another on Sept. 28 2015."
Sky & Telescope says that in a total eclipse, "from the Moon's perspective, the Sun remains completely hidden for 1 hour 18 minutes. From Earth's perspective, the lunar disk isn't completely blacked out but instead remains dimly lit by a deep orange or red glow."
For further reading, below is a list of several eclipse-related resources:
-- The U.S. Naval Observatory's page allows you to input your city and get specific data on the exact time of the eclipse's phases — penumbra, umbra and totality.
-- NASA, which includes a complete catalog of lunar eclipses for 5,000 years, from 1999 B.C.E. to 3000 C.E.
-- Timeanddate.com, which has some nice animations on the subject.