Total Lunar Eclipse Monday Night into Tuesday (April 14-15)


By Brian Neudorff

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) Monday night into early Tuesday morning most of the United states and all of Idaho will be able to see the first eclipse of 2014. This will be a lunar eclipse in which the moon passes through the Earth's shadow. Unlike the solar eclipse, in which the moon passes between the Earth and the sun blocking out the sun's light, the lunar eclipse occurs at night during a full moon and can be viewed with out protective eye-wear. 

The Earth actually produces two shadows; a large, light fuzzy one called the penumbra and a smaller, darker one called the umbra located inside the penumbra. The umbra is where the most visual part of the eclipse takes place. 

As the moon enters the darker Earth's umbra it will look like a bite has been taken out of the moon and will continue to grow over the lunar surface. Once the moon enters the umbra completely the dark gray bite will turn a darker reddish-orange or orange-brown. This is sometimes refer to as a "blood moon." This reddish color occurs as sunlight is refracted through the Earth's atmosphere, similar to why we see orange and red during sunrises and sunsets. 

11:58 PM MDT – Partial phase: Moon begins to enter Earth's umbra (full shadow).  A dark “bite” begins to appear at the moon’s lower left edge, growing steadily larger over the next hour until it “swallows” the moon at the start of totality

1:06 AM MDT – Totality begins (moon is completely in the umbra, appearing dark red-orange).

1:46 AM MDT – Maximum eclipse (moon appears as dark as it will get, dark orange or orange-brown).

2:25 AM MDT – Totality ends (moon begins to exit umbra, with a bright “sliver” appearing at the lower left edge, growing steadily larger over the next hour until the last dark “bite” disappears at the end of the partial phase.

3:33 AM MDT – Partial phase ends (moon completely out of umbra, still noticeably dimmed on its right side).  Dimming along the right side will slowly disappear over the next hour, with the moon looking normal by around 4:00 AM or so.

You can view it anywhere you have a clear shot of the moon, but if you are looking for something a little more the College of Southern Idaho will be opening the Herrett Center and the Faulkner Planetarium around 10:45 p.m. Monday night. There will be a showing of "Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon" at the Faulkner Planetarium at 11:00 p.m. (admission: $6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 students) with the observatory open free of charge. 

We should expect partly to mostly clear skies Monday evening but some clouds could be on the increase about the time the moon begins to enter eclipse totality. Should be enough breaks to see the eclipse but the Weather Authority Team will keep you updated on the weather forecast Sunday night and Monday on Idaho's First News. 


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