• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 31s

Total lunar eclipse early Tuesday morning: How to watch it

By Michael Roppolo / CBS News 4:55 PM April 14, 2014

April 15 — a date that’s dreaded by many Americans for tax purposes — instead has a special appeal for stargazers this year. A total lunar eclipse will turn the moon a reddish hue, and should be visible across the country.

Happening in the early morning hours on Tuesday — peaking between the hours of 3 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. EDT — the cosmic color change will be perfectly placed for most viewers in North and South America, astronomer Fred Espenak told CBS News in an email.

According to NASA, it will begin as a partial eclipse at 1:58 a.m. EDT, with the total eclipse lasting from 3:07 a.m. to 4:25 a.m. EDT.

Unlike a solar eclipse, experts say a lunar eclipse is safe to watch with the naked eye. You won’t need a telescope or even binoculars to witness the brightly colored “Blood Moon.”

This eclipse will also mark the beginning of a tetrad, a series of four total lunar eclipses in a row. The next three total eclipses will be occurring on Oct. 8, 2014, April 4, 2015, and the final occurring on Sept. 28, 2015.

The start of Tuesday’s lunar eclipse will mark the second of nine tetrads this century, according to Espenak, the last tetrad occurring in 2003 and the next occurring in 2032. There were five tetrads in the 20th century.

“Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli first…noticed that tetrads were relatively plentiful during one 300-year interval, while none occurred during the next 300 years,” Espenak explained to CBS News. “For example, there are no tetrads from 1582 to 1908, but 17 tetrads occur during the following 2 and 1/2 centuries from 1909 to 2156. The [approximate] 565-year period of the tetrad ‘seasons’ is tied to the slowly decreasing eccentricity of Earth’s orbit.”

As the Earth positions itself between the sun and the moon, a reddish hue will surround the moon due to the indirect sunlight that manages to reach and illuminate it. Sunlight first passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, filtering out most of the blue colored light, resulting this reddish color. Earth’s atmosphere can also refract some of the light, causing a small fraction to reach and illuminate the moon, Espenak explains on his website.

CBS affiliates in Boston and New York, as well as parts of Florida and California are predicting cloudy conditions around the times the lunar eclipse is set to occur, which may cause some sky gazers to miss the spectacular moment.

Most observers in both North and South America will be able to watch the entire event, according to Espenak. But viewers in the eastern half of South America and northwestern Africa will miss some stages of the eclipse, because they occur after moonset. Observers in Japan and Australia will miss the earlier stages of the eclipse, since it begins before moonrise. New Zealanders will see the entire eclipse, except in the southwest where the eclipse is already in progress at moonrise.

No part of the eclipse will be visible from Europe, most of Africa, the Middle East or most of Asia, notes Espenak.

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigning

    by CBS News on Nov 24, 7:06

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is resigning, CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin has learned, and will leave his position after less than two years at the helm of the Defense Department. A senior defense official told Martin the resignation is a “mutual decision” between Hagel and President Obama that has been under discussion for […]

  • Sports

    UAA men’s cross country headed to NCAA tourney again

    by KTVA Sports on Nov 23, 18:37

    After a strong performance at the NCAA Division II West Region Championships in Billings, Montana, UAA Cross Country now finds itself in a familiar position — the NCAA Tournament.

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Nov. 23

    by KTVA Weather on Nov 23, 18:20

  • News

    Thanksgiving Blessing expects to feed 11,000 in Anchorage area

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 23, 18:03

    This Thanksgiving will be a reason to celebrate for many local families, thanks to the Food Bank of Alaska and neighborhood volunteers. This year’s Thanksgiving Blessing project — one of the area’s biggest food drives for the holidays – is expected to feed more than 11,000 families around Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley. Tons of donations […]

  • Sports

    Days before Great Alaska Shootout, UAA men’s basketball back on track

    by KTVA Sports on Nov 23, 16:58

    As preparation begins for the GCI Great Alaska Shootout, which begins Tuesday, the UAA men’s basketball team appears back on track.

  • News

    Anchorage Fire Department holds deep-fried turkey safety demo

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 23, 13:30

    Thanksgiving is around the corner. For many residents, deep-fried turkey is on the planned menu. Anchorage Fire Department battalion chief Mark Hall says deep fryer fires are responsible for about $15 million in damage to homes. Hall and other firefighters from the department held a demonstration Saturday of what could happen if deep frying a […]

  • News

    Downtown street party, multiple shootings overnight keep Anchorage police busy

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 23, 12:00

    The video above may contain inappropriate content. Anchorage police responded to multiple incidents early Sunday morning, including an unruly street party and two isolated shootings. Downtown street party The first occurred at around 2:30 a.m., according to a release from the Anchorage Police Department. Police responded to a call that shots had been fired in the […]

  • News

    UAF computer science students seek software proposals

    by Associated Press on Nov 23, 10:45

    Computer science students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks are looking for software design proposals as part of their learning process. UAF officials say the projects allow public service and private organizations, as well as governments, to get free software while students get experience. Officials say more than 65 successful projects have been developed by […]