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Total lunar eclipse will arrive in wee hours Tuesday

Sunday, April 13, 2014 9:32 PM
Last updated Monday, April 14, 2014 3:03 PM
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Augusta sky-watchers, prepare for a rare event.

The moon will go through a number of phases during Tuesday's lunar eclipse. The total phase will last 78 minutes.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The moon will go through a number of phases during Tuesday's lunar eclipse. The total phase will last 78 minutes.

For the first time since 2011, a total lunar eclipse will arrive Tuesday morning, turning the moon red.

“The event doesn’t begin till pretty late, but I definitely encourage people to stay up and witness everything,” said Dr. Gary Senn, the director of the Ruth Patrick Science Center in Aiken. “It’ll be an amazing sight.”

At 1:58 a.m., the moon will move into Earth’s shadow, beginning the lunar eclipse.

“Just before 2 a.m., people should start looking for the curvature of Earth’s shadow crossing over the moon’s surface,” Senn said. “About an hour later, the reddish color will appear.”

The moon will be fully eclipsed between 3 and 4 a.m., with the most intense redness about 3:30.

“It really is a spectacular sight,” said Tedda Howard, the president of the Astronomy Club of Augusta. “To see the moon turn dark red is very different – especially with all the stars around it. I know it’s late, but people won’t regret staying up for the show.”

Because of the late hour, Ruth Patrick Science Center won’t hold a viewing party.

“We’ve tried having viewing parties in the past, but it’s tough getting a large group together when it starts this late,” Senn said. “Especially since it also falls on a weeknight.”

Special technology isn’t required.

“A lunar eclipse can easily be seen by the naked eye,” he said. “I mean, it doesn’t hurt to use a telescope or binoculars, but it isn’t necessary. Sometimes, I actually think it looks better when you don’t use anything.”

Tuesday’s eclipse marks the start of a lunar tetrad – an event that occurs when there are four consecutive total lunar eclipses, with no partial lunar eclipse in between.

The next total eclipse will occur Oct. 8.

“My husband and I watched the last total eclipse (in 2011), and it’s just fascinating,” Howard said.

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YeCats 04/14/14 - 04:50 pm
Blood Moon

The red color comes from the planet Mars.

I was just told this. Yes, it was blond.

InChristLove 04/14/14 - 07:09 pm
Why the moon appears red

Why the moon appears red during a lunar eclipse....

"The reason stems from the air we breathe. During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth lies directly between the sun and the moon, causing the Earth to cast its shadow on the moon. If Earth didn’t have an atmosphere, then, when the moon was entirely within Earth’s shadow, the moon would would appear black and invisible.

Earth’s atmosphere extends about 50 miles (80 kilometers) above Earth’s surface. During a total lunar eclipse, when the moon is submerged in Earth’s shadow, there is circular ring around Earth – the ring of our atmosphere – through which the sun’s rays pass.

Sunlight is composed of a range of frequencies. As sunlight passes through our atmosphere, the green to violet portion of the light spectrum is, essentially, filtered out. This same effect, by the way, is what makes our sky blue during the day. Meanwhile, the reddish portion of the spectrum is least affected.

What’s more, when this reddish light first entered the atmosphere, it was bent (refracted) toward the Earth’s surface. It’s bent again when it exits on the other side of Earth. This double bending sends the reddish light onto the moon during a total lunar eclipse."

Pretty interesting stuff!

AutumnLeaves 04/14/14 - 08:11 pm
For those who would like to

For those who would like to see the source of the quote InChristLove shared above, along with the beautiful illustrations of the eclipse that are included in the website, go to:

InChristLove 04/14/14 - 08:23 pm
Thank you AutumnLeaves,

Thank you AutumnLeaves, should have posted the link myself. It's be a 10 hour work day and the brain is fried this evening.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 04/14/14 - 09:37 pm

It's raining outside as I post this. Is anyone going to set their alarm clocks to get up and go outside and look for the moon at 3:00 a.m. tomorrow morning? I would think that the clouds will make the eclipse look very dark, indeed.

Young Fred
Young Fred 04/14/14 - 11:48 pm

Thank you for that!

I found a chair, and sat outside for the downpour. Always loved watching nature pitch a hissy fit!

One time about 25 years ago, was watching a particular bad thunderstorm, walked inside for a moment and the lighting decided to "explode" a pine tree close to my house. 3 foot slivers of pine sprayed across my yard! Sticking in the ground two and three foot deep.

I love watching nature pitching a fit! Kind of makes you step back and think.

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