Speed Reads


The first of 4 'blood moons' will be visible April 14-15

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When you look outside late on April 14 or early April 15 and the moon is red, don't panic; it's just a full lunar eclipse.

Why is it red? Sky & Telescope magazine explains that as the Earth moves directly between the moon and sun, scattered light from sunsets and sunrises on the edge of our planet are reflected on the moon's surface. "If you were standing on the moon during a total lunar eclipse you would see the Earth as a black disk with a brilliant orange ring around it," Sky and Telescope's Alan MacRobert tells the Los Angeles Times. "And this brilliant ring would be bright enough to dimly light up the lunar landscape."

At 10:58 Pacific Daylight Time on April 14, or 1:58 Eastern Daylight Time on April 15, the moon will begin to move into the Earth's shadow. The full lunar eclipse will start at 12:07 a.m. PDT, 3:07 a.m. EDT, and last about an hour and 15 minutes. It will be visible in most of the United States, Canada, and Central America (Sky & Telescope has a useful map). If you miss this "blood moon," don't fret; there are three more behind it (that's called an eclipse tetrad). The next one will occur in October. --Catherine Garcia