'Blood Moon' watching? Stay up late for the lunar eclipse on April 15
This April, sky-gazers will be in for a "bloody" treat. A total lunar eclipse that will happen this coming April will likely bathe the sky with red light.
The eclipse will happen on Tuesday April 15. Astronomers say that the total lunar eclipse will occur early in the morning and moon gazers would do well to set their alarm clocks early. The eclipse will last a total of 77 minutes and it will start at around 3:07 a.m. (EST) and will peak at 3:36 a.m. (EST).
The coming eclipse is the first of four eclipses that astronomers predict will happen in the next 18 months. These types of eclipses are known as "blood moons" due to the fact that the moon often turns a deep red color.
Total lunar eclipses are often seen in a supernatural light. Moreover, the coming lunar tetrad is especially significant due to the fact that each eclipse will coincide with major Jewish events including the Feast of Tabernacles and Passover.
The four upcoming total lunar eclipses will happen consecutively with no predicted partial eclipses in between. Moreover, each total eclipse will be separated by 6 lunar months in between. After the April 15 eclipse, the next eclipse will occur this coming October 8. It will be followed by another total lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015 and the last eclipse will occur on September 28, 2015.
During a total eclipse, the only light the moon receives is sunlight refracted by the edges of the Earth's atmosphere. The refracted light causes the moon to appear red. Total lunar eclipses can be viewed from any location on Earth that faces the moon during the time of the eclipse. This is different from a total solar eclipse, which can only be viewed from specific areas affected by the eclipse.
Consecutive total lunar eclipses are referred to as lunar "tetrads." While tetrads are relatively rare, astronomers can predict them with a fair amount of accuracy. The last time a lunar tetrad was observed was between 2004 and 2005. After the coming lunar tetrad, astronomers are currently unsure when the next one will occur.
During the last century, scientists reported and observed a total of five total lunar eclipses. In the 21st century however, astronomers say that eight total lunar eclipses will occur. This is a relatively large number considering that no total eclipses were observed in the 18th and 19th centuries.