• 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

    SmallBizSat: Anchorage business boasts local expertise as key to compete

    by Liz Raines on Nov 28, 19:01

    On Small Business Saturday, locally owned Skinny Raven Sports says it saw a big boost from last year’s sales. “There’s been a lot of feet through the door, which is awesome,” said general manager Ben Stolpman. “It shows that people value small business.” Despite the fact that you can find almost all of the products […]

  • Sports

    At Great AK Shootout, Wiggs lifts Seawolves to 71-65 win over Drexel

    by Jake Edmonds on Nov 28, 14:08

    The University of Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team earned a second round win in the GCI Great Alaska Shootout Friday, defeating Drexel 71-65. The Seawolves were led by the junior stand-out Suki Wiggs, who had 33 points in the win. Wiggs is proving to be a huge asset for head coach Rusty Osbourne and the […]

  • News

    In Fairbanks, borough suspends ride share payments after no one signs up

    by Associated Press on Nov 28, 12:25

    Residents aren’t getting on board with ride sharing in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://bit.ly/1YzWBoS) borough officials and Enterprise Holdings have agreed to suspend payments for a program that no one has signed up for since the company was hired in September 2014. Borough transportation manager Adam Barth says he […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage police seek wanted man, Dajon Hale

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 28, 11:58

    The Anchorage Police Department is asking for the public’s help finding 26-year-old Dajon Hale, who currently has two felony warrants for his arrest. Police say in June, Hale was pulled over for speeding in a construction zone in the area of E. 56th Avenue and Lake Otis Parkway. The officer then discovered Hale was on probation […]

  • News

    Red Cross of Alaska speaks out for Giving Tuesday

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 27, 22:48

    After Thanksgiving, shoppers have a number of opportunities to save big: first there’s Black Friday, then Small Business Saturday and finally, Cyber Monday. Many use the sales in stores and online as a chance to get deals on Christmas presents for their loved ones, but the Red Cross of Alaska says Giving Tuesday is another […]

  • News

    Thousands turn out for Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in Downtown Anchorage

    by Daniella Rivera on Nov 27, 22:37

    Friday night, thousands packed Town Square Park for the annual AT&T Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, marking the official start of the holiday season in Anchorage. Alaskans enjoyed free hot cocoa and cookies, kids got to meet Santa Claus and his reindeer, and Alaskans gave back through donations to Toys for Tots. Live music was provided by […]

  • News

    Eagle River women turn to Kickstarter to fund indoor dog park

    by Bonney Bowman on Nov 27, 20:42

    Thousands of Alaskan dog owners know around this time of year it can be tough to get your dog enough exercise. Whether it’s cold and icy or wet and muddy, conditions aren’t always ideal for a long walk. That’s what inspired Alyssa Oehmke and Melanie Wallace to found the Alaska Canine Club, an indoor dog park. […]

  • News

    Locally-owned Anchorage stores brace for ‘Small Business Saturday’

    by Liz Raines on Nov 27, 18:18

    Although Black Friday had a low turnout in Anchorage this year, many local businesses say they’re banking on Saturday sales. “‘Small Business Saturday’ is always the big push, people come out in full force which is awesome, we appreciate that, completely,” said Annie Ciszak Pazar, owner of Bella Boutique in Spenard. “You know they call […]