• 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

    North Korea missile launch attempt fails, U.S., South Korea say

    by CBS/AP on Mar 22, 21:18

    North Korea’s latest missile launch ended in failure on Wednesday, the U.S. and South Korean militaries said, three days after the North claimed a major breakthrough in its rocket development program. The reported launch failure comes as the North is angrily reacting to ongoing annual U.S.-South Korean military drills that it views as an invasion […]

  • News

    New languages considered for ASD immersion program as lottery deadline looms

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 22, 21:15

    Parents in the Anchorage School District have shown enough interest in immersion programs that the district is considering adding other languages. “The three languages that continue to come up are Korean, Arabic and French,” explained the program’s director, Brandon Locke. He said one thing working in the district’s favor is the “cost.” “People think this […]

  • News

    Mat-Su Borough Assembly takes 2 parks off trapping ban list

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 22, 20:33

    The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly voted Tuesday night to change an ordinance on trapping in the borough that was passed recently. The Assembly had approved a measure to ban trapping near school grounds and trails in eight local parks, but Assembly member Randall Kowalke requested a reconsideration of the ordinance less than 24 hours later. He […]

  • News

    Renovations planned for UAS Ketchikan maritime facilities

    by Associated Press on Mar 22, 20:22

    Construction is expected to start later this year on a nearly $6 million overhaul of University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan’s Regional Maritime and Career Center. The Ketchikan Daily News reports that Wendy Miles Horn, with the university, says the work is needed because the two buildings that make up the facility are inadequate, cramped and […]

  • Politics

    New fiscal plan pays out $1,900 PFD, but faces grim future

    by Liz Raines on Mar 22, 20:20

    There are now more than a handful of proposals in Juneau on how to use the permanent fund to solve the state’s multi-billion dollar budget shortfall. The latest is one unveiled by House Republican minority Wednesday morning, day 65 of the legislative session. House Bill 192 avoids a steep cut to dividends next year by using less […]

  • Police: Shooting at Fairbanks library confused for phone charger explosion

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 22, 19:48

    An afternoon at a Fairbanks library took a strange turn when a man was injured by what was at first thought to be an exploding phone charger, but turned out to be a bullet, according to police. At 1:15 p.m., Fairbanks fire crews responded to the Noel Wien Library on Cowles Street after receiving a report […]

  • Lifestyle

    Humpback whale population growing near Homer

    by Melissa Frey on Mar 22, 19:18

    Kachemak Bay, Alaska’s first state park, is known for it’s towering mountains, sandy beaches and rich marine habitat, which are all visible from the Homer Spit. Karl Stoltzfus has lived there for nearly 50 years and has been offering wildlife excursions for more than two decades. He says they traditionally look for humpbacks at the end […]

  • News

    Longtime leader of Sealaska board to step down

    by Associated Press on Mar 22, 18:59

    Southeast Alaska’s regional Native corporation Sealaska is losing one of its longest-serving leaders. KTOO-FM reported Wednesday that Rosita Worl will step down in June after 30 years on the Juneau-based corporation’s board of directors. Worl says she has thought about leaving her post for some time and is looking forward to completing various academic projects. […]