Published On: Mon, Apr 14th, 2014

Tonight lunar eclipse in clear weather

Lunar_eclipseWILLEMSTAD – If you have trouble sleeping tonight, then you will do well to look outside. There will be something very interesting to see between 1:85 and 5:33 am.

A red moon will hang below a Red Planet in the night sky tonight, during a lunar eclipse that coincides with our closest approach to Mars in six years.

"This will be a great one for us. It's very dramatic," predicts Colin Haig, vice president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada of the lunar eclipse scheduled to peak at 3:45 a.m. ET Tuesday.

During a lunar eclipse, the Earth casts its shadow on the full moon as it passes between the moon and the sun.

This eclipse will be a relatively rare total eclipse, when the moon is completely cloaked in the shadow.

"What makes this one special is the moon is going to end up in the darkest part of the Earth's shadow," said Haig.

That will cause it to dim and turn a dramatic red colour.

"Some people like to say it's sort of a blood-red moon," Haig said, "which has great emotional impact but it's not really blood colour —  it's more of a coppery colour."

That's because during a lunar eclipse, any light from the sun has to pass through the Earth's atmosphere in order to hit the moon. And because the Earth's atmosphere scatters blue light the most (the reason the sky looks blue during the day), most of the light that hits the moon and then is reflected back at us is red.

 

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