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Blood Moon Dates 2014 2015: Next Week Marks First Of Four Total Lunar Eclipses For Next Two Years

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First Posted: Apr 11, 2014 03:46 PM EDT
Lunar Eclipse
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JUNE 15: (ISRAEL OUT) A total lunar eclipse is seen on June 15, 2011 in Jerusalem, Israel. The longest lunar eclipse for a decade took place tonight. A lunar eclipse comes when the sun, Earth and moon line up and Earth's shadow falls on the moon. (Photo : Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Skygazers and astronomy lovers in the Western Hemisphere during the overnight hours between Monday and Tuesday will get a rare front-row seat for the first total lunar eclipse in more than two years, according to National Geographic.

Next week's lunar eclipse marks the first of four lunar eclipses that will be visible to the Western Hemisphere in the next two years, which is known as the Tetrad. The next one is scheduled for Oct. 8 later this year and then April and Sept. 28, 2015.

A lunar eclipse occurs only during a full moon when it, the Earth and sun are precisely aligned so that Earth blocks out the sun's light on the moon. Monday's eclipse is being commonly referred to as a "blood moon" because of the sun's light gets refracted off of Earth's dusty atmosphere and casts a red hue on the surface of the moon, according to Nat Geo.

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Over the course of the eclipse, the lunar disk will turn from a dark gray color in the partial phase to a reddish-orange color in the totality phase. This is the same effect when the sun turns red during sunset.

Because of the moon's tilted orbit around our planet, lunar eclipses only occur once every few years, however there are rare occurrences, like this and next year, where it will happen four times.

Lunar eclipses are completely safe to view with the naked eye, which is the opposite in the occurrence of a solar eclipse where the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, blocking out most of the sun's light. During a solar eclipse

The eclipse will be visible in both North and South America and parts of the Pacific Basin including Hawaii and Eastern Australia. Europe Africa and central Asia, however, will be in day light during the occurrence and will miss the event entirely.

The show last 78 minutes and will begin around 2 a.m. Tuesday in east coast or at around 11 p.m. Monday on the west coast. 

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