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Lunar Eclipse And Mars Opposition Set For April 15; When is the Best Time to Watch?

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First Posted: Mar 31, 2014 11:13 AM EDT
Total Lunar Eclipse In Jersualem
(Photo : Uriel Sinai / Getty Images )

Save the date, the next lunar eclipse will appear on April 15.

On the day known to most Americans as tax day, the Moon will pass directly behind the Earth into its shadow. The Earth, moon, and sun will align to form a lunar eclipse.

The April eclipse will be the first in a set of 4 consecutive lunar eclipses that will emerge between April 2014 and September 2015.  This eclipse series is known as a tetrad.

The tetrad will begin April 15 and continue on the dates of Oct. 8, 2014, April 4, 2015, and finally on Sept. 28, 2015. The 2014-2015 tetrad will be visible for all of North and South America.

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The April 15 eclipse will reportedly appear at 1:58 a.m EDT. At 9:53 p.m EDT, the moon will begin to pass behind the Earth into its umbra (the Latin word for shadow). The second phase in the eclipse will occur at 3:07 a.m EDT. The second phase will display the moon as it is completely covered behind the Earth's umbra and will end at about 4:25 a.m EDT. The third and final phase will then display the moon as a complete and total eclipse. Here, we will see the moon appear to be a reddish color. By 5:33 a.m. EDT, the eclipse will finish .

In addition to the eclipse, a Mars opposition is also set to take place on April 8. According to NASA.gov, During opposition, Mars and the sun are on directly opposite sides of Earth. From our perspective on our spinning world, Mars rises in the east just as the sun sets in the west. Then, after staying up in the sky the entire night, Mars sets in the west just as the sun rises in the east. Since Mars and the sun appear on opposite sides of the sky, we say that Mars is in "opposition."  Are you ready?

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