Lunar eclipse awaits North America and Pacific Rim

3 Apr 2015

Earth is about to receive a look at its second eclipse of the year, with a total lunar eclipse affecting North America and most of the Pacific Rim area.

Following last month’s solar eclipse, which affected the northern Atlantic region and was best seen from areas like the Faroe Islands, it’s America’s turn to stare at the skies.

Saturday morning will see the Earth completely block out the moon from the sun’s light, allowing spectators to witness something pretty cool.

As it’s not a solar eclipse, you’re allowed look at it with your own, naked eyes and see what will be the shortest lunar eclipse of the century – it will last less than five minutes.

Apparently those with the best view will be west of the Mississippi River in the US, and what’s visible is called a ‘blood moon’. Essentially Earth’s atmosphere blocks out all blue light so when you look at the moon it turns a copper red.

In the West, the total eclipse will begin at 04:58 PT, with the lesser view in the East at 06.15 ET.

Blood Moon

The different stages of a lunar eclipse, showing the Blood Moon effect. Image via Shutterstock

This is merely the third stage of a four-part play for North Americans, in a series of eclipses known as a Tetrad. The total eclipse of April 15, 2014, was followed by another in October last year, Saturday’s and then a fourth next September.

What’s pretty cool about this eclipse is NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams is doing a Q&A on Twitter throughout, so anybody who wants to know more can just get in touch with him at @NASA_Marshall.

Blood moon image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic