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Archive for category Astronomy April 2014

Lunar eclipse tonight: Will we be able to see it in D.C.?

April 14, 2014 - 07:53 AM
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It's a full moon tonight as well as a lunar eclipse. Unfortunately for us in D.C. and our neighbors up and down the east coast, it will be too cloudy to get a glimpse of the eclipse. 

It will still be a sight for our clear weather friends in the rest of North America. Check out this map where the eclipse will most visible.

(NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Lunar eclipses only occur when there's a full moon. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is directly opposite the sun and passes into Earth's dark shadow. The eclipse will begin by 12:53am EDT and will continue through 4:34am with the "totality" phase occurring around 3:06am.

(Fred Espenak)

At the time of the eclipse, the moon will take on a reddish hue. This is because of Earth's atmosphere. The suns' rays will pass through our atmosphere scattering the light, which is the same phenomenon that gives us colorful sunrises and sunsets. Space.com has an even more in-depth explanation of lunar eclipses, if you want to read more. 

(R.G. Meier / Shutterstock)

Even though we in D.C. won't be able to catch sight of the lunar eclipse from home, NASA will live stream the eclipse beginning at 10 p.m. tonight. You can also check the planet Mars' approach, which is the closest the planet's been to Earth since 2008.

This lunar celestial phenomenon will be the first in a series of four eclipses, also called a "lunar tetrad." The next will occur on October 8th 2014, the next April 4, 2015, and the final September 28, 2015.

(F. Espenak / NASA / Goddard Spaceflight Center)

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