The moon took on an eerie blood-red hue early Tuesday during the first total lunar eclipse of 2014, a celestial sight that wowed potentially millions of stargazers across North and South America.
The total lunar eclipse of April 15 lasted about 3.5 hours between late Monday and early Tuesday, with the Earth’s shadow slowing darkening the face of the so-called “Blood Moon” in a jaw-dropping sight for stargazers willing to stay up extra late or rise super-early for the event.
“Definitely worth the early wake-up call,” skywatcher Brett Bonine of Arkansas told Space.com in an email. [Blood Moon Photos: Amazing Total Lunar Eclipse Views for April 15]
he moon turns blood red in this 3:30 a.m. ET view of the total lunar eclipse on April 15, 2014, as seen by a telescope at the University of Arizona’s Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter at Steward Observatory atop Mt. Lemmon, Arizona. (Credit: Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona)
The lunar eclipse peaked at 3 a.m. EDT (0700 GMT), with the moon taking 78 minutes to pass through the darkest point of Earth’s shadow. It was visible from most of North and South America, Hawaii and parts of Alaska. The eclipse was the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses, known as a “tetrad,” between April 2014 and September 2015.
Astronomer Bob Berman, who hosted a live lunar eclipse webcast for the Slooh community telescope using views from Arizona’s Prescott Observatory, said event was also one for the record books because of another bright object in the predawn sky.
“It was the most special one, I would say, of our lives,” Berman said during the Slooh webcast. “What made it particularly extraordinary was that it happened on the same night as the closest approach of Mars to Earth in years.”