“Blood moon,” the total lunar eclipse occurring in the middle of this month, is the first of four “blood moons,” and according to NASA, the entire lunar eclipse event is visible from both North and South America. These types of eclipses are known as "blood moons" because the moon often turns a deep red color, reports Pop Blend on April 1.
As described by NASA, during the total lunar eclipse on April 15, the moon, Earth, and sun will be perfectly aligned. With the Earth blocking the sun, the only light the moon will receive is sunlight refracted by the edges of the Earth's atmosphere. The refracted light causes the moon to appear red. A second total lunar “blood moon” eclipse is expected to occur in 2014 on Oct. 8. In 2015, two events take place on April 4 and Sept. 28.
Astronomers distinguish three basic types of lunar eclipse phases:
- Penumbral eclipse: Moon traverses Earth's penumbral shadow (Moon misses Earth's umbral shadow).
- Partial eclipse: Moon traverses Earth's penumbral and umbral shadows (Moon does not pass completely into Earth's umbra).
- Total eclipse: Moon traverses Earth's penumbral and umbral shadows (Moon passes completely into Earth's umbra).
NASA reports that the three phases occur at the following times on April 15:
- Penumbral Eclipse Begins: 04:53:37 UT
- Partial Eclipse Begins: 05:58:19 UT
- Total Eclipse Begins: 07:06:47 UT
- Greatest Eclipse: 07:45:40 UT
- Total Eclipse Ends: 08:24:35 UT
- Partial Eclipse Ends: 09:33:04 UT
- Penumbral Eclipse Ends: 10:37:37 UT
NASA expects the total “blood moon” eclipse to last for 78 minutes beginning at 7:06 until 8:24. UT stands for Universal Time and is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. It is one of several closely related successors to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). For most purposes, UT is synonymous with GMT, but GMT is no longer precisely defined by the scientific community.
For North Americans, the conversion from UT to local time is as follows:
- Atlantic Daylight Time: subtract 3 hours from UT
- Atlantic Standard Time: subtract 4 hours from UT
- Eastern Daylight Time: subtract 4 hours from UT
- Eastern Standard Time: subtract 5 hours from UT
- Central Daylight Time: subtract 5 hours from UT
- Central Standard Time: subtract 6 hours from UT
- Mountain Daylight Time: subtract 6 hours from UT
- Mountain Standard Time: subtract 7 hours from UT
- Pacific Daylight Time: subtract 7 hours from UT
- Pacific Standard Time: subtract 8 hours from UT
- Alaska Daylight Time: subtract 8 hours from UT
- Alaska Standard Time: subtract 9 hours from UT
For anyone using Eastern Daylight Time, the total “blood moon” eclipse will begin at 7:06 UT or 3:06 a.m. ET. For anyone using Central Daylight Time, the event will begin at 2:06 a.m. For anyone using Mountain Daylight Time, it is time to watch at 1:06 a.m., and for Pacific Daylight Time eclipse observers, many might still be awake at 12:06 a.m.
The lunar eclipse “blood moon” is an astronomical feature but has significance for some religious groups since the April 15 and Oct. 8 dates fall on the Jewish Passover and Feast of the Tabernacle. Next year, the “blood moons” will occur on April 4 and Sept. 28, which again fall on the abovementioned Jewish holidays. And of course, there are the “blood moon” prophecies which describe the time when “the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.” (Joel 2:30-31)