Here we go again. Another lunar eclipse, just like we had last April. And it’s another one of those eerie “blood red” Moons. But this one will be a super-sized Blood Red Moon.
So there will be differences between this one and the last one. This one could be better ! Here are some reasons why, along with some noteworthy facts, figures, times and places where it can be best seen.
Number 1: It’s, of course, a full moon that night. Check your local almanac for the time when the full Moon will rise in your area. Just after sunset is a good rule of thumb!
Number 2: There is confusion about when you might see it in your area, because all the East Coast-centric writers have extrapolated the viewing times into Eastern Daylight Time zone – where the viewing won’t be all that great because of the arrival of dawn. So convert those East Coast times into what it would be in your time zone.
Number 3: Totality starts at 6:25 a.m. EDT and last nearly an hour – until 7:24 a.m., the National Aeronautics and Space Administration calculates. But that means, for instance, that it will be fully eclipsed from 3:25 a.m. to 4:24 a.m. on America’s West Coast – a couple of hours earlier than that in Hawaii. Earth time doesn’t necessarily align with that of the celestial clock. (Helpful times for the exact moment of “totality”: October 8 10:55 UTC ; 6:55 a.m. EDT; 5:55 a.m. CDT; 4:55 a.m. MDT; 3:55 a.m. PDT.)
Number 4: Because this eclipse will happen two days after a point when the Moon is nearest to the Earth, called a lunar perigee, the Moon will appear 5.3 percent larger than it did during the April 15 eclipse. So maybe we should call this a Blood Red Super Moon!
Number 5: The eclipse will be best seen – i.e., in its entirety – from the western United States, the Pacific Islands and eastern parts of Asia, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. Sorry, Europe, Africa and the Middle East; you are totally out of luck. Areas in between (see map) will be able to see parts of the eclipse but sunrise/moonset will interfere with the viewing experience.
Number 6: Why does the moon appear red? It has to do with the bending of light rays in the atmosphere. Eclipses occur when the Earth moves exactly between the Moon and the Sun; the Earth’s shadow covers the Moon. Most light is blocked, but some red bounces past, and seems to project itself, like the colors of a sunrise or sunset, coloring the Moon.
“The exact color that the moon appears depends on the amount of dust and clouds in the atmosphere,” according to NASA scientists. “If there are extra particles in the atmosphere, from say a recent volcanic eruption, the moon will appear a darker shade of red.”
Number 7: This eclipse is the second in a series of four lunar eclipses, known as a tetrad, that are occuring over a period of this year and next. Earth will experience only eight tetrads this century. The next one won’t come around until 2032-2033.
October 6, 2014