Considering it’s the official month of mischief, spook, and all things haunting, it’s only fitting that the sun, Earth, and moon align to gift us with a spectacular “blood moon” on Wednesday, October 8.
The total lunar eclipse will be the final blood moon of the calendar year after its previous appearance, which occurred on April 15. According to NASA, the full eclipse will commence at 6:25 a.m. EDT and last until 7:24 a.m. Those in Canada and the United States – especially inhabitants of the continent’s western parts – will have spectacular views to the celestial show, while natives in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East won’t be able to witness the stellar display.
Different from penumbral eclipses that cast a partial shadow on the moon and are therefore vaguely visible, a blood moon exhibits a striking reddish, copper-like tint. Blood moons adopt their fiery color as a result of sunsets and sunrises happening around the world; light rays from the sun’s edges peek through Earth’s atmosphere while the moon is in shadow. Unlike other colors, red light isn’t blocked and scattered, thus making it easier to penetrate the atmosphere and cause the “bloody” effect.
Photo Courtesy of strangesounds.org
Since the eclipse is taking place two days after a lunar “perigee,” meaning the nearest point to Earth in the moon’s orbit, NASA indicates that the moon will appear 5.3 percent larger than its springtime precedent. Accordingly, the mid-week blood moon will nearly amount to the size of a super moon.
This event will mark the second in a sequence of four lunar eclipses in a row, otherwise referred to as a “tetrad.” The final two eclipses in the series will happen on April 4, 2015 and September 28, 2015, while it’s estimated that the next tetrad won’t occur until around 2032 or 2033. “The most unique thing about the 2014-2015 tetrad is that all of them are visible for all or parts of the U.S.A,” said NASA eclipse specialist, Fred Espenak.
As pointed out by the Washington Post, we’ll experience just eight tetrads this century; prior to the dawn of the 20th century, there was a 300-year period (1600-1990) when there were absolutely none. So make sure to peek out your window Wednesday morning for the unique phenomenon—you won’t want to miss it.