April’s Total Lunar Eclipse

Robert Bigelow

The first eclipse of 2014 is well placed for observers in Utah and throughout the Western Hemisphere. While this Total Lunar Eclipse begins on April 14, most of the eclipse occurs during the early morning hours of April 15. Assuming the sky is clear; the eclipse can be easily seen with the unaided eye, so no special equipment is needed.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves into Earth’s shadow. This can only happen at full moon. The darkest portion of Earth’s shadow is called the umbra. The Moon will not appear noticeably darker until it begins to move into this part of the shadow. The Moon will enter Earth’s umbral shadow at 11:58 p.m. (MDT) on April 14. Look for the Moon in the southeastern sky. Totality begins at 1:07 a.m. on April 15. The Moon will be closest to the center of Earth’s shadow at 1:46 a.m. Near that time, the upper half of the moon should appear slightly darker as it will be deeper into the shadow than the bottom half (see diagram). Can you see a difference? Totality will end at 2:25 a.m. and the last portion of the Moon will leave Earth’s umbral shadow at 3:33 a.m.

While eclipses occur about every six months, they are not visible everywhere on Earth. The next total eclipse of the Moon will occur on October 8, 2014. It will also be visible from Utah. There will also be a partial eclipse of the Sun visible from Utah on October 23.

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One thought on “April’s Total Lunar Eclipse

  1. Thank you for the update about the lunar times! Do you know how hard it is to find MST lunar times? Again, Thank you!

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