11
Apr
14

Lunar Eclipse – April 2014

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A total lunar eclipse will take place on April 15, 2014. It will be the first of two total lunar eclipses in 2014, and the first of a tetrad (four total lunar eclipses in series). Subsequent eclipses in the tetrad will occur on October 8, April 8, 2015, and September 28, 2015.

The April 15 eclipse will be visible in the Pacific Ocean region, including Australia, as well as North and South America. The moon will pass south of the center of the Earth’s shadow. As a result, the northern part of the moon will be noticeably darker than the southern part. It will occur during the ascending phase of the moon’s orbit, part of lunar saros 122.

Background

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes within Earth’s umbra (shadow). As the eclipse begins, the Earth’s shadow first darkens the moon slightly. Then, the shadow begins to “cover” part of the moon, turning it a dark red-brown color (typically – the color can vary based on atmospheric conditions). The moon appears to be reddish due to the refraction of light through the Earth’s atmosphere. This is the same effect that causes sunsets to appear red.

The following simulation shows the approximate appearance of the moon passing through the earth’s shadow. The moon’s brightness is exaggerated within the umbral shadow. The northern portion of the moon will be closest to the center of the shadow, making it darkest, and most red in appearance.

Animation_april_15_2014_lunar_eclipse_appearance

Description

On April 15, 2014, the moon will pass through the southern part of the Earth’s umbral shadow.It will be visible over most of the Western Hemisphere including east Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific ocean, and North and South America.In the western Pacific, the first half of the eclipse will occur before moonrise. In Europe and Africa, the eclipse will begin just before moonset.In North America, Mars will arguably be the most prominent object in the sky other than the moon, appearing 9.5° northwest of the moon.Spica will be 2° to the west, while Arcturus will be 32° north. Saturn will be 26° east and Antares 44° southeast.

Mars will be at opposition on April 8 and closest to earth on April 14, so the eclipse will also be an excellent time to observe Mars in a good telescope. It will be a minimum distance of 0.618 AU, the closest approach since 2007. With an apparent diameter of 15.2″, Mars will appear as large in 120 power telescope as the moon will with the unaided eye.

The moon will enter Earth’s penumbral shadow at 4:54 UTC and the umbral shadow at 5:58. Totality will last for 1 hour 18 minutes, from 7:07 to 8:25. The moment of greatest eclipse will occur at 7:47. At that point, the Moon’s zenith will be approximately 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) southwest of the Galapagos Islands. The moon will leave the umbra shadow at 9:33 and the penumbra shadow at 10:38.

The umbral magnitude will peak at 1.2907. At that moment, the northern part of the moon will pass 1.7 arc-minutes south of the center of Earth’s shadow, while the southern part will be 40.0 arc-minutes from center. Thus, the northern part of the moon will be noticeably darker. The moon’s appearance will change significantly throughout the eclipse as the depth of the shadow changes. The gamma of the eclipse will be -0.3017.

The eclipse will be a member of lunar saros 122. It will be the 56th such eclipse.

Viewing events

Many museums and observatories are planning special events for the eclipse. The Griffith Observatory will stream the eclipse live on the Internet.

Related eclipses

The April 15 eclipse is the first eclipse in a tetrad; that is, four consecutive total eclipses with no partial eclipses in between. There will be one eclipse every six lunar cycles during the tetrad – on October 8April 8, 2015, and  September 28, 2015. The lunar year series repeats after 12 cycle, or 354 days, causing a date shift when compared to the solar calendar. This shift mean the Earth’s shadow will move about 11 degrees west in each subsequent eclipse.

This tetrad will start during the ascending node of the Moon’s orbit. It is the first tetrad since the 2003–04 series, which started in May. The next series will from 2032 to 2033, starting in April.

Prophecy

According to the Blood Moon Prophecy popularized by Christian pastors John Hagee and Mark Biltz, the April 15 eclipse is a sign of significant change to come.Starting in 2008, Biltz began teaching that the Second Coming of Jesus would occur at the end of the tetrad. Hagee takes a softer stance, saying only that the tetrad is a sign of something significant. The idea gained popular media attention, appearing in newspapers such as USA Today.It was criticized by many Christian writers as being unlikely from a religious perspective.  In a FAQ on the subject, the scientific radio show Earth & Sky called the use of the term “blood moon” to describe a tetrad as a recent invention that had no scientific basis.According to Christian Today, only a “small group of Christians” see the eclipse as having religious significance.

More:  Blood Moon Prophecy

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