The moon is going to get a little freaky on Wednesday morning. The second ‘blood moon’ of 2014 will occur on October 8 before the sunrise in North America. The moon will appear red due to a total lunar eclipse. According to NASA, the blood moon will be most visible from the Pacific coast. Unlike solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is safe and can be viewed with the naked eye.
Why does blood moon occur?
The Earth will align itself between the sun and the moon, resulting into a total lunar eclipse with a reddish hue. Our planet’s shadow causes moon to plunge into darkness. But some sunlight still manages to pass through the Earth’s atmosphere, giving the moon red color. According to Melissa Hulbert of Sydney Observatory, Earth’s atmosphere bends the sunlight such that a small fraction manages to reach the moon.
Lunar eclipses are pretty common with one or two occurring each year. But a blood moon should draw enthusiastic eyes to the sky. John O’Byrne, an associate professor at the University of Sydney, says it’s the most visible astronomical event in the sky from the public point of view. It’s pretty hard to miss as the moon will be bathed in bright red-orange glow Wednesday morning.
The longest blood moon took place in 1888
The eclipse will enter the partial phase at 5:15 AM EDT on Wednesday, gaining a red glow slowly. It will move into the umbral shadow by 6:25 AM EDT. According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, the middle of the lunar eclipse occurs at 6:55 AM. This is second of the four full lunar eclipses in a row. This special quartet of astronomical events is called a tetrad. The first one in this tetrad took place on April 15, 2014.
The next one will occur on April 04, 2015 and then on September 28, 2015. According to Blaine Friedlander of EclipseWise, no tetrads took place between 1582 and 1908. However, we are quite lucky. There will be a total of eight tetrads in 21st century. The next quartet will occur in 2032-33. The longest blood moon happened on July 23, 1888 when it lasted 1 hour and 46 minutes. The shortest one? It will be on November 9, 2068, which will last just 18 minutes.