Blood Moon Rising, April 15

Blood Moon Rising, April 15

Weather permitting, skywatchers will be treated to the sight of  a special full moon on April 14-15. There will be a full moon, and  a total lunar eclipse. This reddish moon is sometimes called a blood moon.

What omen could this  blood moon be?  Tax day aside,  the name sounds ominous, a portent of bloodshed and doom.

But, here's the science. A lunar eclipse can only occur during a full moon, when the moon is directly opposite the sun in our sky. A reddish colored moon is caused by the umbral shadow of the Earth falling across the moon, and light  scattering in the Earth's atmosphere.

According to EarthSky---

Most of the time, however, the full moon eludes the Earth’s shadow by swinging to the north of it, or south of it. For instance, the March 2014 full moon swung south of the Earth’s shadow. Next month – in May 2014 – the full moon will swing north of the Earth’s shadow.

The moon’s orbital plane is actually inclined at 5o to the ecliptic – Earth’s orbital plane. However, the moon’s orbit intersects the ecliptic at two points called nodes. It’s an ascending node where it crosses the Earth’s orbital plane going from south to north, and a descending node where it crosses the Earth’s orbital plane, going from north to south.

The lunar eclipse  of April 14-15  will be visible  in North America.  Weather permitting, we should be able to watch it here.

Eclipse_luneThe moon takes about 3-1/2 hours to  pass through the Earth's shadow.  Totality  lasts over an hour.

Here (from EarthSky) are the viewing times for the Chicago area- Central Daylight Time (April 15, 2014)

Partial umbral eclipse begins: 12:58 a.m. CDT on April 15
Total eclipse begins: 2:07 a.m. CDT
Greatest eclipse: 2:46 a.m. CDT
Total eclipse ends: 3:25 a.m. CDT
Partial eclipse ends: 4:33 a.m. CDT

This spectacular natural event would be worth staying up late (or getting up early) to experience.  The weather forecast is not  very promising, however.  Current prediction is for light rain, blustery winds  and  low temps in the 30's.

But, there may be breaks in the clouds for moon viewing!

NASA will also be livestreaming the eclipse. You can watch it here.

Are you interested in skywatching? Here's a post on comets.  Do you marvel at the changing moon? Here's a post for you.

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Filed under: seasons, weather

Tags: blood moon, lunar eclipse

Comments

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  • "Here's the science." BRAVA, Weather Girl! Well done to dispel so much garbage around eclipses!

  • Thank you, MargaretSerious. Clarity is especially needed for this one!

  • I'm going to have to channel my inner Druid. Great post.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Thank you so much, AW. Looks like a partial eclipse will be visible in the UK...can you imagine the crowds at Stonehenge?

  • If you watch this moon a-sea,
    Would it increase your lunacy?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Undoubtedly!

    I am told eclipse cruises are marvelous--ink-dark skies, and a sea of stars...

  • Thanks for the post! I can't wait!

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    Thanks for reading, Kathy! I hope it's not too cloudy to see it!

  • Great post!

  • Thank you, Kathy. There's more to come....

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