Breaking news: the shortest lunar eclipse of the century is upon us! Don’t miss out on this quick but interesting astronomical phenomenon that takes place on Saturday April 4. And for those of you who live on the half of the world where the sun will be shining right when the eclipse occurs, you still have a change to watch the even online.
According to NASA, the full moon will go from its usual light color to a dusky red between 7:57 and 8:02 a.m. ET Saturday. Eclipse fans on the Eastern U.S. coast won’t have the opportunity to see it as the sun will have risen by that time.
In the western part of the country, sky watchers should be able to witness the whole lunar phenomenon. The eclipse can also be seen in Asia and the Pacific but to varying degrees. For those of you who live in Europe and Asia, your only option is, unfortunately, to watch it online.
The great thing about lunar eclipses is that they are totally safe to watch. For a more complete experience, you should use binoculars or even better – a telescope. Usually, an entire hemisphere should be able to watch the eclipse. But it all depends on the weather.
A lunar eclipse takes place when Earth is positioned between the Sun and the moon. But even during the total phase of a lunar eclipse, Earth’s atmosphere manages to refract enough sunlight to give the moon’s surface a reddish glow. This is why, a total lunar eclipse is often called “blood moon”.
An interesting thing about this weekend’s total lunar eclipse is that it’s the third such event in a series of four lunar eclipses in the last year and a half, a phenomenon called a “tetrad”.
For those of you who won’t be able to see the lunar show, there are some online alternatives:
- The Los Angeles Griffith Observatory will offer a live broadcast of the lunar eclipse from 5 to 9:30 a.m. ET (2 to 6 a.m. PT).
- The Slooh online observatory will offer a webcast consisting of various eclipse photos taken from different areas together with commentary from Bob Berman, Will Gater and Eric Edelman. The show will begin at 6 a.m. ET.
- The Virtual Telescope 2.0 website will also stream eclipse imagery beginning with 6 a.m. ET.
Image Source: Yahoo! News