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Total Lunar Eclipse 14-15 April 2014
What you need to know this month about the moon, Mars and more.

Observers from the Atlantic coast across the Americas to the far side of the Pacific Ocean will be able to observe a total lunar eclipse on Monday night, 14-15 April 2014.

The eclipse begins at 12:53 a.m. EDT (9:53 p.m. PDT).

Exact event times for your city can be calculated at http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/LunarEclipse.html.

During the eclipse the moon will pass through Earth's shadow. An outer zone, called the penumbra, is only "lightly" shadowing the moon. You can't see that portion, called the penumbral eclipse, except for a few minutes before the partial eclipse begins and a few minutes after the partial eclipse ends.

The main show begins with the partial eclipse. During the partial eclipse more and more of the moon enters (and later exits) the deep shadow cast by the Earth, called the umbra. The disk of the moon in the umbra gets very dark while the portion outside the umbra stays quite bright.

The total eclipse begins when the whole disk of the moon is inside the umbra and lasts for 1 hour 18 minutes. During this period the moon can have a range of colors, spanning deep grey (or invisible, sometimes) to bright orange.

Sequence showing darkening moon during eclipse.
Astronomer Stephen Edberg captured this eclipse sequence in 2007.

This is an event for the naked eye and binoculars if desired. Wear clothing suitable for nighttime weather. A chair, lounge, or mattress and a blanket or sleeping bag will make observing more comfortable if you stay out for most of the event.

What's Happening

Lunar eclipses occur when the moon passes through the shadow cast by Earth, cutting off the sunlight usually falling on the full moon. While full moons occur every 29.5 days, we do not see a lunar eclipse every month. Because the moon's orbit is tilted with respect to the Earth's orbit, the moon must pass close to the line projecting from sun to Earth so it will pass through Earth's shadow. This close alignment occurs about every 6 months. If the moon is close enough to the line, a partial or total lunar eclipse can be seen from somewhere on Earth. Earth's shadow is much larger than the moon. As it crosses through Earth's shadow, the moon spends enough time that Earth's rotation brings large areas of our planet into position to see the moon.

Stephen Edberg
Astronomer
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Approximate time for Zone: Eastern Central Mountain Pacific Alaska Mainland HI-Aleutians
Penumbral Eclipse Begins: 00:53:37 23:53:37 22:53:37 21:53:37 Below horizon 18:53:37
Partial Eclipse Begins: 01:58:19 00:58:19 23:58:19 22:58:19 21:58:19 19:58:19
Total Eclipse Begins: 03:06:47 02:06:47 01:06:47 00:06:47 23:06:47 21:06:47
Greatest Eclipse: 03:45:40 02:45:40 01:45:40 00:45:40 23:45:40 21:45:40
Total Eclipse Ends: 04:24:35 03:24:35 02:24:35 01:24:35 00:24:35 22:24:35
Partial Eclipse Ends: 05:33:04 04:33:04 03:33:04 02:33:04 01:33:04 23:33:04
Penumbral Eclipse Ends: 06:37:37 05:37:37 04:37:37 03:37:37 02:37:37 00:37:37

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Last Updated: 14 April 2014

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Last Updated: 14 Apr 2014