The First Blood Moon of the Year is Coming

By Fernanda Duque Hernández

The shortest eclipse of the century!

Next Saturday, near dawn on April 4th, a magnificent astronomical spectacle will take place: the first total lunar eclipse of the year and the shortest one of the 21st century.

This phenomenon will be observable mainly in Hawaii, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, the west coast of the United States and part of Mexico’s Pacific coast. Although this eclipse may be admired without the use of telescope, experts recommend using binoculars.

In Mexico, the eclipse will begin around 4:30am and will end at 5:30am (Mexico City time). In the south of United States, it will go from 5:30am to 6:30am (Eastern Daylight Time).

As a matter of fact, this is the third time in less than a year that a so-called “Blood Moon” eclipse take place. Added to a fourth one will take place in September, the total sum of this year’s eclipses will be known as a lunar tetrad.

blood moon

Normally, lunar eclipses take place in yearly patterns: the first is a partial eclipse followed by a total eclipse and finally a penumbral eclipse. But this pattern has been broken this year and sky experts have stated that the last one will happen by September 28 of 2015.

This weekend, the sun, the moon and the earth will be perfectly aligned, which is why Earth’s natural satellite will be positioned just behind its penumbra (a partial shadow). Minutes later, following its natural course, the moon will be passing through our planet’s umbra (full shadow). It is at this point where it will turn red.

Unfortunately this natural spectacle will last a mere 4 minutes and 43 seconds, making it the shortest eclipse of this new century!

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