April 2014 lunar eclipse

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Total lunar eclipse
April 15, 2014
Lunar eclipse April 15 2014 California Alfredo Garcia Jr1.jpg
Lomita, California, 7:44 UTC
near greatest eclipse
Lunar eclipse chart close-2014Apr15.png
The moon passes right to left through the Earth's shadow
Gamma -0.3017
Duration (hr:mn:sc)
Totality 1:17:48
Partial 3:34:43
Penumbral 5:43:54
Contacts (UTC)
P1 4:53:40
U1 5:58:19
U2 7:06:46
Greatest 7:46:48
U3 8:24:34
U4 9:33:02
P4 10:37:33
April 2014 lunar eclipse sky view.png
The lunar eclipse occurred in the constellation Virgo, near the star Spica with the planet Mars near, slightly west on the ecliptic.

A total lunar eclipse took place on April 15, 2014. It is the first of two total lunar eclipses in 2014, and the first in a tetrad (four total lunar eclipses in series). Subsequent eclipses in the tetrad are those of October 8, 2014, April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015.

The eclipse was visible in the Pacific Ocean region, including Australia and New Zealand, as well as the Americas. The moon passed south of the center of the Earth's shadow. As a result, the northern part of the moon was noticeably darker than the southern part. It occurred during the ascending phase of the moon's orbit, part of lunar saros 122.


A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes within Earth's umbra (shadow). As the eclipse begins, the Earth's shadow first darkens the moon slightly. Then, the shadow begins to "cover" part of the moon, turning it a dark red-brown color (typically - the color can vary based on atmospheric conditions). The moon appears to be reddish because of Rayleigh scattering (the same effect that causes sunsets to appear reddish) and the refraction of that light by the Earth's atmosphere into its umbra.[1]

The following simulation shows the approximate appearance of the moon passing through the earth's shadow. The moon's brightness is exaggerated within the umbral shadow. The northern portion of the moon was closest to the center of the shadow, making it darkest, and most red in appearance.

Simulation of the appearance of the moon just before, during and just after the eclipse


The planet Mars was near opposition, as shown in this geo-centered motion of Mars from 2003-2018

On April 15, 2014, the moon passed through the southern part of the Earth's umbral shadow.[2] It was visible over most of the Western Hemisphere, including east Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific ocean, and the Americas].[3] In the western Pacific, the first half of the eclipse occurred before moonrise. In Europe and Africa, the eclipse began just before moonset.[2] Mars, which had just passed its opposition, appeared at magnitude -1.5 about 9.5° northwest of the moon.[3][2][4][5] Spica was 2° to the west, while Arcturus was 32° north. Saturn was 26° east and Antares 44° southeast.[2]

The moon entered Earth's penumbral shadow at 4:54 UTC and the umbral shadow at 5:58. Totality lasted for 1 hour 18 minutes, from 7:07 to 8:25. The moment of greatest eclipse occurred at 7:47. At that point, the Moon's zenith was approximately 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) southwest of the Galápagos Islands. The moon left the umbra shadow at 9:33 and the penumbra shadow at 10:38.[2]

The peak umbral magnitude was 1.2907, at which moment the northern part of the moon was 1.7 arc-minutes south of the center of Earth's shadow, while the southern part was 40.0 arc-minutes from center. The gamma of the eclipse was -0.3017.[2]

The eclipse was a member of Lunar Saros 122. It was the 56th such eclipse.[2]

Geographic visibility
Visibility Lunar Eclipse 2014-04-15.png
Local times of contacts
adjustments from
+12h -9h -8h -7h -6h -5h -4h -3h
Event Evening April 15 Evening April 14 Morning April 15
P1 Penumbral begins* N/A 7:54 pm 8:54 pm 9:54 pm 10:54 pm 11:54 pm 12:54 am 1:54 am
U1 Partial begins 5:58 pm 8:58 pm 9:58 pm 10:58 pm 11:58 pm 12:58 am 1:58 am 2:58 am
U2 Total begins 7:07 pm 10:07 pm 11:07 pm 12:07 am 1:07 am 2:07 am 3:07 am 4:07 am
Mid-eclipse 7:47 pm 10:47 pm 11:47 pm 12:47 am 1:47 am 2:47 am 3:47 am 4:47 am
U3 Total ends 8:25 pm 11:25 pm 12:25 am 1:25 am 2:25 am 3:25 am 4:25 am 5:25 am
U4 Partial ends 9:33 pm 12:33 am 1:33 am 2:33 am 3:33 am 4:33 am 5:33 am 6:33 am
P4 Penumbral ends 10:38 pm 1:38 am 2:38 am 3:38 am 4:38 am 5:38 am 6:38 am 7:38 am

* The penumbral phase of the eclipse changes the appearance of the moon only slightly and is generally not noticeable.[6]

† Moon not visible during this part of eclipse in this time zone

Viewing events[edit]

Many museums and observatories planned special events for the eclipse. The United States National Park Service sponsored events at Great Basin National Park and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.[7] The University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy held events at two locations on the islands.[8] The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California streamed the eclipse live on the Internet.[3]

NASA hosted two live question-and-answer sessions online. The first happened roughly 12 hours before the eclipse via Reddit's Ask Me Anything. The second was a web chat hosted on their site just before the eclipse began. NASA also streamed the eclipse live on their website.[9] NASA TV provided 3 hours of live coverage beginning at 2 a.m. EDT.[10]


Related eclipses[edit]

The April 15 eclipse is the first eclipse in a tetrad; that is, four consecutive total eclipses with no partial eclipses in between. There will be one eclipse every six lunar cycles during the tetrad – on October 8, 2014, April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015.[3] The lunar year series repeats after 12 cycles, or 354 days, causing a date shift when compared to the solar calendar. This shift means the Earth's shadow will move about 11 degrees west in each subsequent eclipse.

This tetrad started during the ascending node of the Moon's orbit. It is the first tetrad since the 2003–04 series, which started in May. The next series will be from 2032 to 2033, starting in April.

Lunar eclipse series sets from 2013–2016
Ascending node   Descending node
Saros Viewing
Type Saros Viewing
Partial lunar eclipse 2013-04-25 2018UTC.jpg
2013 Apr 25
Lunar eclipse from moon-2013Apr25.png
Lunar eclipse chart close-2013Apr25.png
117 2013 Oct 18
Lunar eclipse from moon-2013Oct18.png
Lunar eclipse chart close-2013Oct18.png
Lunar eclipse April 15 2014 California Alfredo Garcia Jr1.jpg
2014 Apr 15
Lunar eclipse from moon-2014Apr15.png
Lunar eclipse chart close-2014Apr15.png
127 2014 Oct 08
Lunar eclipse from moon-2014Oct08.png
Lunar eclipse chart close-2014Oct08.png
132 2015 Apr 04
Lunar eclipse from moon-2015Apr04.png
Lunar eclipse chart close-2015Apr04.png
137 2015 Sep 28
Lunar eclipse from moon-2015Sep28.png
Lunar eclipse chart close-2015Sep28.png
142 2016 Mar 23
Lunar eclipse from moon-2016Mar23.png
Lunar eclipse chart close-2016Mar23.png
147 2016 Sep 16
Lunar eclipse from moon-2016Sep16.png
Lunar eclipse chart close-2016Sep16.png
Last set 2013 May 25 Last set 2012 Nov 28
Next set 2017 Feb 11 Next set 2016 Aug 08

Relation to prophecy[edit]

Lunar eclipses often inspire doomsday predictions and other prophetic pronouncements. According to the Blood Moon Prophecy popularized by Christian pastors John Hagee and Mark Biltz, the April 15 eclipse is a sign of significant change to come.[3] Starting in 2008, Biltz began teaching that the Second Coming of Jesus would occur at the end of the tetrad. Hagee takes a softer stance, saying only that the tetrad is a sign of something significant.[11] The idea gained popular media attention, appearing in newspapers such as USA Today.[3] It was criticized by many Christian writers as being unlikely from a religious perspective.[11] In an FAQ on the subject, the scientific radio show Earth & Sky called the use of the term "blood moon" to describe a tetrad as a recent invention that had no scientific basis.[12] According to Christian Today, only a "small group of Christians" see the eclipse as having religious significance.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fred Espenak and Jean Meeus. "Visual Appearance of Lunar Eclipses". NASA. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Espenek, Fred. "Eclipses During 2014". NASA. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Elizabeth Weise (April 3, 2014). "Blood moon eclipse on April 15 is a special event". USA Today. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Sneak peek and quick observing guide to April's opposition of Mars". Astro Bob. February 3, 2014. 
  5. ^ Beish, Jeffrey D. (April 12, 2013). "The 2013-2014 Aphelic Apparition of Mars". alpo-astronomy.org. 
  6. ^ Espenak, Fred. "Lunar Eclipses for Beginners". MrEclipse. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 
  7. ^ Jim Burnett. "Parks Can Offer A Great Setting For Viewing Upcoming Total Lunar Eclipses". National Parks Traveler. Retrieved April 11, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Institute for Astronomy holds lunar eclipse viewing parties" (Press release). University of Hawaii. April 8, 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Stay 'Up All Night' to Watch the Lunar Eclipse!". NASA. Retrieved April 11, 2014. 
  10. ^ "NASA to Provide Live Coverage and Commentary of April 15 Lunar Eclipse". NASA. Retrieved April 14, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b David R. Reagan. "The Blood Moon Mania:Legitimate Sign or Hype?". Retrieved April 6, 2014. 
  12. ^ Bruce McClure; Deborah Byrd (March 30, 2014). "What is a Blood Moon?". Earth & Sky. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  13. ^ Samantha Blake (April 5, 2014). "Lunar Eclipse April 15, 2014: Four Blood Moons a sign of End Times?". Christian Today. Retrieved April 6, 2014. 

External links[edit]