April 2014 lunar eclipse

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Total lunar eclipse
15 April 2014

Lomita, California, 7:44 UTC

The Moon passes right to left through the Earth's shadow.
Saros (and member) 122 (56 of 75)
Gamma -0.3017
Magnitude 1.2907
Duration (hr:mn:sc)
Totality 1:17:48
Partial 3:34:43
Penumbral 5:43:53
Contacts (UTC)
P1 4:53:40
U1 5:58:19
U2 7:06:46
Greatest 7:45:39
U3 8:24:34
U4 9:33:02
P4 10:37:33

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 15 April 2014. It was the first of two total lunar eclipses in 2014, and the first in a tetrad (four total lunar eclipses in a series). Subsequent eclipses in the tetrad are those of 8 October 2014, 4 April 2015, and 28 September 2015. Occurring 6.7 days after apogee (Apogee on 8 April 2014), the Moon's apparent diameter was smaller.

The eclipse was visible in the Americas and the Pacific Ocean region, including Australia and New Zealand. This eclipse occurred during the ascending phase of the Moon's orbit, part of lunar saros 122. Mars was near opposition.


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


NASA chart of the eclipse
The planet Mars was near opposition, as shown in this geo-centered motion of Mars from 2003 to 2018.

On 15 April 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 4:53:40 UTC and the umbral shadow at 5:58:19. Totality lasted for 1 hour 17.8 minutes, from 7:06:46 to 8:24:34. The moment of greatest eclipse occurred at 7:45:39. 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 9:33:02 and the penumbra shadow at 10:37:33.[2]

The peak umbral magnitude was 1.2962, 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


Local times of contacts
Time Zone
adjustments from
+12h -9h -8h -7h -6h -5h -4h -3h
Event Evening 15 April Evening 14 April Morning 15 April
P1 Penumbral begins* Under Horizon 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 7:46 pm 10:46 pm 11:46 pm 12:46 am 1:46 am 2:46 am 3:46 am 4:46 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 Set

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

Contact points relative to the earth's umbral and penumbral shadows, here with the moon near is descending node
The timing of total lunar eclipses are determined by its contacts:[7]
  • P1 (First contact): Beginning of the penumbral eclipse. Earth's penumbra touches the Moon's outer limb.
  • U1 (Second contact): Beginning of the partial eclipse. Earth's umbra touches the Moon's outer limb.
  • U2 (Third contact): Beginning of the total eclipse. The Moon's surface is entirely within Earth's umbra.
  • Greatest eclipse: The peak stage of the total eclipse. The Moon is at its closest to the center of Earth's umbra.
  • U3 (Fourth contact): End of the total eclipse. The Moon's outer limb exits Earth's umbra.
  • U4 (Fifth contact): End of the partial eclipse. Earth's umbra leaves the Moon's surface.
  • P4 (Sixth contact): End of the penumbral eclipse. Earth's penumbra no longer makes contact with the Moon.

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.[8] The University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy held events at two locations on the islands.[9] 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 NASA's site just before the eclipse began. NASA also streamed the eclipse live on their website.[10] NASA TV provided 3 hours of live coverage beginning at 2 a.m. EDT.[11]


Relation to prophecy[edit]

Starting in 2008, Christian pastors John Hagee and Mark Biltz began teaching "blood moon prophecies": Biltz said the Second Coming of Jesus would occur at the end of the tetrad that began with the April 2014 eclipse, while Hagee said only that the tetrad is a sign of something significant.[12] The idea gained popular media attention in the United States, and prompted a response from the scientific radio show Earth & Sky.[3][13] According to Christian Today, only a "small group of Christians" saw the eclipse as having religious significance, despite the attention.[14]

Related eclipses[edit]

Eclipses of 2014[edit]

The 15 April 2014 eclipse was the first eclipse in a tetrad; that is, four consecutive total eclipses with no partial eclipses in between. There will be another eclipse every six lunar cycles during the tetrad – on 8 October 2014, 4 April 2015, and 28 September 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 Gamma Saros Viewing
Type Gamma
2013 Apr 25
−1.0121 117
2013 Oct 18
2014 Apr 15
−0.3017 127
2014 Oct 08
2015 Apr 04
0.4460 137
2015 Sep 28
142 2016 Mar 23
1.1592 147
2016 Sep 16
Last set 2013 May 25 Last set 2012 Nov 28
Next set 2017 Feb 11 Next set 2016 Aug 18

Half-Saros cycle[edit]

A lunar eclipse will be preceded and followed by solar eclipses by 9 years and 5.5 days (a half saros).[15] This lunar eclipse is related to two hybrid total/annualar solar eclipses of solar saros 129.

8 April 2005 20 April 2023

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fred Espenak and Jean Meeus. "Visual Appearance of Lunar Eclipses". NASA. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Espenek, Fred. "Eclipses During 2014". NASA. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e Elizabeth Weise (3 April 2014). "Blood moon eclipse on April 15 is a special event". USA Today. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  4. ^ "Sneak peek and quick observing guide to April's opposition of Mars". Astro Bob. 3 February 2014.
  5. ^ Beish, Jeffrey D. (12 April 2013). "The 2013-2014 Aphelic Apparition of Mars". alpo-astronomy.org. Archived from the original on 23 August 2014.
  6. ^ Espenak, Fred. "Lunar Eclipses for Beginners". MrEclipse. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  7. ^ Clarke, Kevin. "On the nature of eclipses". Inconstant Moon. Cyclopedia Selenica. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  8. ^ Jim Burnett. "Parks Can Offer A Great Setting For Viewing Upcoming Total Lunar Eclipses". National Parks Traveler. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Institute for Astronomy holds lunar eclipse viewing parties" (Press release). University of Hawaii. 8 April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Stay 'Up All Night' to Watch the Lunar Eclipse!". NASA. April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  11. ^ "NASA to Provide Live Coverage and Commentary of April 15 Lunar Eclipse". NASA. 11 April 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  12. ^ Garrett Haley (14 April 2014). "Upcoming 'Blood Moon' Lunar Eclipses Spark Woes, Discussion About End Times Bible Prophecy". Christian News Network. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  13. ^ Bruce McClure; Deborah Byrd (30 March 2014). "What is a Blood Moon?". Earth & Sky. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  14. ^ Samantha Blake (5 April 2014). "Lunar Eclipse April 15, 2014: Four Blood Moons a sign of End Times?". Christian Today. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  15. ^ Mathematical Astronomy Morsels, Jean Meeus, p.110, Chapter 18, The half-saros

External links[edit]