Red Moon Rising
In the early hours of April 15, 2014, our pale moon will turn blood orange red. This spectacle will mark the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses, a series known as a tetrad. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon dips behind Earth’s shadow. Most eclipses are partial, meaning only portions of the moon are hidden from the sun. But sometimes the moon, Earth, and sun perfectly align so that the entire moon is shielded from the sun’s rays. When this happens, wayward beams of sunlight filter through Earth’s atmosphere, coloring the moon a fiery red, resulting in a total eclipse. While a tetrad itself isn’t rare, NASA scientists say that its visibility across the entire United States is unique. Watch the video to learn more.
A string of four total lunar eclipses will illuminate North American skies starting in April.
Explore how lunar eclipses work and the different types that occur in this video.
When a full moon drifts into Earth’s inner shadow, called the umbra, a total eclipse takes place.
The moon grows red as it creeps into Earth's shadow. Once it passes out of the shadow, it returns to its normal state.
The total eclipse will be visible across North America on April 15, 2014, October 8, 2014, April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015.
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Please give credit for this item to:
Science@NASA and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Cover image courtesy of Fred Espenak
Eclipse time-lapse image courtesy of SpaceWeather.com / Dylan O'Donnell
Total eclipse image courtesy of Doug Murray
- Julia Calderone (USRA) [Lead]