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Total lunar eclipse to bring ‘blood moon’ on Tax Day

Monday, April 14th, 2014 10:21am MST
Diagram of the April 14 / 15, 2014 total lunar eclipse. Click for a larger view. ( Fred Espenak, http://www.MrEclipse.com)

Diagram of the April 14 / 15, 2014 total lunar eclipse. Click for a larger view. ( Fred Espenak, http://www.MrEclipse.com)

For those willing to forgo a bit of sleep tonight, a gaze skyward will provide a look at the first lunar eclipse of 2014.

The entire celestial event will be visible from Colorado beginning at 11:58 pm tonight as the partial eclipse begins.  Totality occurs at 1:07 am MDT on the morning of April 15 and lasting until 2:25 am.  The event will be over at 3:33 am.

Current weather forecasts for Thornton and the Denver metro area show that we should have mostly clear skies tonight allowing prime viewing of the event.  It will however be quite cold with temperatures in the mid to upper 20s.  Check our 48 hour point forecast for what to expect.

During totality, the moon will be rendered orange / red as the Earth’s shadow envelops the moon.  Many are calling this a ‘blood moon’ but the meaning behind that term isn’t exactly clear.

As written on EarthSky.org, some attribute it to the lunar tetrad – four successive full lunar eclipses without any partial eclipses.  Tonight’s eclipse begins the lunar tetrad with each full lunar eclipse coming six months apart.

The blood moon as it pertains to these eclipses should not be confused with the October full moon which is also referred to as a blood moon in folklore.

Also note that Mars is at its closest point to Earth in 6 years.  The red planet will be visible at about the 2:00 position in relation to the fully eclipsed moon.

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