The shortest lunar eclipse of the century happened at 6:16 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 4, and lasted for only five minutes.

The lunar eclipse was visible from most of the United States. Eastern North America and western South America could see the beginning stages of the partial umbral eclipse low in the west before sunrise. In Asia, India, western China and Russia, the ending stages of the partial umbral eclipse could be viewed low in the east after sunset.

This eclipse marked the third in a series of four lunar eclipses in a row, known as a “tetrad.” The first in the series occurred on April 15, 2014, the second in September of 2014, and the final will be Sept. 28, 2015.

During an eclipse, the moon often looks reddish because sunlight has passed through Earth’s atmosphere, which filters out most of its blue light. This eerie, harmless effect has earned the nickname “blood moon.”

lunareclipse
The bright full moon turning a shady red color. Photo Credit: Eric Stark

For a total lunar eclipse to happen, the moon must be full, which means it is directly opposite the sun, with Earth in between. The moon moves into the shadow cast by the sun shining on Earth. An eclipse does not occur every month because sometimes the moon is above the shadow and sometimes below.

The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles provided a live feed from their telescope on April 4:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc

A world map of eclipse visibility can be found at:
http://go.usa.gov/3gwxP

Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff
Source: NASA

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