Apr 02, 2015 11:19 PM EDT
Easter weekend this year will bring the second eclipse of the year on Saturday, April 4, with a total lunar eclipse that will be visible from most of North America and around the Pacific Rim. Unlike last month's solar eclipse, which was total only along a narrow area of the North Atlantic, you only need to be in the right hemisphere to witness the total lunar eclipse.
A lunar eclipse happens with the sun, Earth and moon form a straight line in space with Earth right in the middle. When the sun shines on the Earth creating a shadow, as the moon movies across the shadow, it will appear to turn dark, and may even take on a red color because Earth's atmosphere filters out most of the blue light giving the effect that many now call the "blood moon."
"That red light shining onto the moon is sunlight that has skimmed and bent through Earth's atmosphere: that is, from all the sunrises and sunsets that ring the world at any given moment," said Alan MacRobert of Sky and Telescope magazine.
While people west of the Mississippi River will have the best view, a full or partial eclipse will be visible across the entire nation but sunrise will interrupt the view on the East Coast. Parts of South America, India, China and Russia will also have a view of the lunar eclipse, although areas such as Greenland, Iceland, Europe, Africa and the Middle East will not be able to see this lunar eclipse.
Beginning at 3:16 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the moon will begin to move into the Earth's shadow. For the next hour and 45 minutes, the moon will move across the shadow of the Earth. According to NASA, the moon will only have a total eclipse duration of four minutes and 43 seconds, making it one of the shortest eclipses recorded.
According to NASA, lunar eclipses typically happen at least twice a year, however this is the third eclipse in a series of four, known as a "tetrad." The first was on April 15, 2014. The second was in September 2014, the next is Saturday and there will be one more, on September 28.
If you happen to miss this eclipse because you oversleep or you are just on the wrong side of the Atlantic, do not worry. There's one more lunar eclipse that will be visible from both sides of the Atlantic of September 28, 2015.
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