The total eclipse of the moon is scheduled for Saturday April 4, and promises to be a show that you won’t want to miss. Which is a distinct possibility given how short it will be. A blood moon will be visible for just 4 minutes and 43 seconds early in the morning, writes Catherine Griffin for Science World Report.
Visible across large parts of the Earth’s surface
As well as taking the title of the shortest eclipse of the century, the event is also part of a rare lunar tetrad. For the uninitiated, a tetrad is a sequence of four eclipses which occur at roughly six-month intervals.
In the U.S., those west of the Mississippi River are in the best area to watch the eclipse, but even if you live to the east you will be able to see a partial eclipse. On the East Coast, you’ll have to be up at 5.35 a.m. to catch the eclipse, although sunrise will interrupt it.
Although the total lunar eclipse will be easily visible to the naked eye, additional equipment such as a telescope or binoculars will greatly improve your view. Amazing pictures can be taken by holding your smartphone up to the eyepiece of a telescope.
Blood Moon can be observed online
The Blood Moon takes its name from the reddish glow that it takes on, caused by the refraction of light as it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere however the moon can appear to have anything from a bright orange to a dark brick color. The exact color depends on how deeply the moon is inside the Earth’s shadow and the amount of dust is in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The eclipse will be visible across large swathes of the Earth’s surface, but should you be unfortunate enough to live in an area that will not experience the event, or bad weather clouds your view, head over to the Virtual Telescope Project or Slooh, both of which will be broadcasting a live stream of the eclipse.
The fourth and final eclipse of this tetrad is scheduled to occur on September 28, according to NASA.