Avid skygazers will want to mark their calendars for the upcoming total lunar eclipse that will occur in the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 15, according to astronomers.
by John Tyburski, Science Recorder
Amateur astronomers will have to stay up late or get up very early to see this first of four “blood moons” anticipated to occur over the next year and a half. The Earth will begin to block direct sunlight to the moon at 3:07 a.m. EST. The event will last around 77 minutes with a midpoint occurring at 3:36 a.m EST.
The term “blood moon” is a colorful description of the reddish-orange appearance of the moon during a total lunar eclipse. As the Earth begins to cast a shadow on the moon, the moon partially disappears from view. Soon the moon begins to appear brighter but with a red or orange hue because the Earth’s atmosphere bends toward the moon the sun’s red light moreso than its other colors within the visible spectrum. The result is stunning.
Four complete lunar eclipses in a row, each separated by six lunar months with no partial eclipses in between, are collectively called a “tetrad.” Lunar tetrads do not occur regularly but are predictable. The remaining three blood moons of this tetrad will occur on October 8, 2014; April 4, 2015; and September 28; 2015.We will observe eight in the twenty-first century compared with five in the twentieth and none in the subsequent two-hundred years. The most recent tetrad occurred in 2004-5, and the next one is not expected until 2032-33.
The lunar tetrad that begins on April 15 has been the subject of recent speculation with regard to biblical prophecy because all four eclipses will occur on important Jewish holidays: Passover and the feast of Tabernacles. Some believe that this tetrad is a sign for important future events in Israel. However, there are no available physical data that link lunar eclipses to world events.