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Earth's Sunrises/sunsets Will Produce Red Moon During Lunar Eclipse

Date: 04/03/2014
Category: Mission News & Science
By: Keliann LaConte

On April 15th, the full Moon will pass through the amber shadow of Earth, producing a midnight eclipse visible across North America.

The April 15th eclipse begins at 2 AM Eastern time when the edge of the Moon first enters the amber core of Earth’s shadow.  Totality occurs during a 78 minute interval beginning around 3 o’clock in the morning on the east coast, midnight on the west coast.  Weather permitting, the red Moon will be easy to see across the entirety of North America.

Why red?

A quick trip to the Moon provides the answer: Imagine yourself standing on a dusty lunar plain looking up at the sky. Overhead hangs Earth, nightside down, completely hiding the sun behind it. The eclipse is underway.

You might expect Earth seen in this way to be utterly dark, but it's not. The rim of the planet is on fire! As you scan your eye around Earth's circumference, you're seeing every sunrise and every sunset in the world, all of them, all at once. This incredible light beams into the heart of Earth's shadow, filling it with a coppery glow and transforming the Moon into a great red orb.

The total eclipse of April 15, 2014, will be followed by another on Oct. 8, 2014, and another on April 4, 2015, and another on Sept. 28 2015 -- all visible for all or parts of the USA.

Modified from Science@NASA.

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