Total Eclipse of the Moon Should be Visible Monday Night, Tuesday Morning, April 14, 15

By David M. Kinchen
One of a series of photographs of the Dec. 21, 2010 lunar eclipse
One of a series of photographs of the Dec. 21, 2010 lunar eclipse
Photo by David M. Kinchen

 I know after reading this story about the April 14-15, 2014 total lunar eclipse that just about everybody -- of a certain age, that is -- will be humming Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart". Here she is singing her hit:

But, seriously, folks, this is what NPR has on its site on Friday, April 11:

"If you're willing to stay up late and the skies are clear early next week, you can catch the first total lunar eclipse in more than three years that's visible throughout North America.

The total eclipse, the first visible throughout the U.S. since December 2012, will peak at about 3 a.m. EDT. says the April 14-15 eclipse "begins a lunar eclipse tetrad — a series of 4 consecutive total eclipses occurring at approximately six month intervals. The total eclipse of April 15, 2014, will be followed by another on Oct. 8, 2014, and another on April 4, 2015, and another on Sept. 28 2015."

What exactly is a lunar eclipse? Here's trusty old Wikipedia: A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow). This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned (in "syzygy") exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a full moon. The type and length of an eclipse depend upon the Moon's location relative to its orbital nodes.

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For my story and photos of the Dec. 21, 2010 lunar eclipse, which coincided with the winter solstice, click:

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