Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight

Tonight we will see the first total lunar eclipse of 2014. When the moon passes into the Earth’s shadow, it will take on a red color, creating what they call a blood moon. I say the first because it is one of four that will occur within the next year and a half, a unique event called a tetrad, with four total lunar eclipses taking place in roughly six month intervals.

This is a pretty rare occurrence considering that there are usually only two prenumbral lunar eclipses which are subtle and only vaguely visible. These four however will be umbral, totally visible and distinct with their red color. What’s more unusual–the eclipse will be visible from all over the United States and some of South America.

The moon will begin to glide into Earth’s shadow at about 2 a.m. and by 3 a.m. the eclipse should be in full view and stay that way for over an hour. If you miss tonight’s, the next total lunar eclipses will take place around October 8, 2014; April 9, 2015 and September 28, 2015. Although there may be quite a few happening these next two years don’t take it for granted. Prior to the 20th century there was a span of 300 years completely devoid of tetrads.