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First of Four Total Lunar Eclipses Will be Visible Tuesday

by Stephanie Kuo
A A
lunar eclipse

Scott Clark, Flickr

The eclipse, part of a "tetrad," will give the moon a blood-red color.

All of North America will be able to see a red moon early Tuesday morning. That's because it'll be the first of four consecutive lunar eclipses over the next year and a half. The phenomenon's called a "tetrad" in the astronomical world.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly behind the earth into its umbra, or shadow. Charles Fulco is the Planetarium Director for Port Chester Public Schools. He says the total lunar eclipse is truly a visual spectacle.

"A lot of people think the moon takes on the color of a blood-red orange or something like the color of Mars," he said. "That's because of the sunlight being bent by the earth's atmosphere. It's focusing onto the moon.”

Unlike a solar eclipse, people won't have to sport any protective eyewear. Fulco says binoculars are welcome, but...

"I happen to think looking at the moon just with the naked eye shows the best shading and the best color," he said. "So go outside shortly after 2 a.m. on the 15th and enjoy."

The lunar eclipse will begin at 2 a.m. and last until 5:30 a.m., when the dawn’s just breaking. The second eclipse is expected this September. The third will be next April. And the tetrad is complete next September.

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