Total Lunar Eclipse Before Dawn on Tuesday, April 15

Contact: Rebecca Johnson
Editor, StarDate magazine
512-475-6763; [email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 11, 2014

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A total lunar eclipse will grace skies across the United States several hours before dawn on Tuesday, April 15, according to the editors of StarDate magazine.

The eclipse will begin at 12:58 a.m. Central Daylight Time, when the Moon begins to move into Earth’s shadow. As Earth’s long shadow falls across the Moon, the part in the shadow will turn dark. It will look as though a chunk were missing from the Moon, which will grow larger as minutes pass.

Just over an hour later, at 2:02 a.m., the Moon will be fully eclipsed — the entire disk shrouded in red. Totality will last one hour and 18 minutes. The Moon will begin to emerge from Earth’s shadow at 3:25 a.m., and will have moved out completely by 4:33 a.m.

The Moon will move from the south to the southwest as the eclipse progresses. Bright orange Mars will shine to its upper right.

The entire event will last just over three and a half hours, and will be visible (weather permitting) for most of the United States, except New England and Alaska. The Moon will rise with the partial eclipse in progress as seen from Alaska. From New England, the Moon will set before the eclipse ends.

On average, there are two or three lunar eclipses a year. They occur when the alignment of the sun, Earth and full Moon is just right, so the Moon passes through the shadow. If the shadow completely engulfs the Moon, it’s a total eclipse. But if the shadow covers only part of the lunar disk, it’s a partial eclipse.

Published bi-monthly by The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory, StarDate magazine provides readers with skywatching tips, skymaps, beautiful astronomical photos, astronomy news and features, and a 32-page Sky Almanac each January.

Established in 1932, The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis, Texas, hosts multiple telescopes undertaking a wide range of astronomical research under the darkest night skies of any professional observatory in the continental United States. McDonald is home to the consortium-run Hobby-Eberly Telescope, one of the world's largest, which is now being upgraded for the HET Dark Energy Experiment. An internationally known leader in astronomy education and outreach, McDonald Observatory is also pioneering the next generation of astronomical research as a founding partner of the Giant Magellan Telescope.

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