Start Your Day With a…Lunar Eclipse?

Image: Brian Lockett

If you’re in the mood to wake up a bit early tomorrow morning (October 8, 2014), you’ll get a pretty awesome lunar treat. That’s right, it’s total lunar eclipse time!

The eclipse will start at 5:14 AM ESD, and become total at 6:24 AM EDT. There are a few interesting things about this eclipse in particular.

The totality of the eclipse and sunrise will be happening at the same time. So if you have a place nearby where you can see both the east and west horizons, you could watch both events simultaneously! This might take away a little from the color of the eclipse, but will make for a gorgeous experience nonetheless.

Viewers will have a window of about two to nine minutes to see the eclipse and the rising sun in the eastern United States.

Another interesting thing is that there is a bit of volcanic activity happening on Earth right now, which puts particulate in the atmosphere. We can’t really see a lot of the particulate with our eyes here in the U.S., but during the eclipse when the sun’s light passes through the earth’s atmosphere before it hits the moon, when there is more particulate, less light is able to pass. So the moon could be a darker red color than it would be if there were no volcanic activity.

This lunar eclipse is part of a tetrad, a series of four lunar eclipses. The first happened in April 2014. The next two will occur in April and September 2015.

So, grab your binoculars or your telescope and get ready for a morning of astronomical proportions! And if you can’t or if weather doesn’t cooperate, you can check out the live webcast from the folks at Slooh Community Observatory.

Image: NASA/GSFC/Espenak

Melanie R. Meadors is the author of fantasy and science fiction stories where heroes don’t always carry swords and knights in shining armor often lose to nerds who study their weaknesses. She’s been known to befriend wandering garden gnomes, do battle with metal-eating squirrels, and has been called a superhero on more than one occasion. Her work has been published in Circle Magazine, The Wheel, and Prick of the Spindle, and she was a finalist in the 2014 Jim Baen Memorial Science Fiction Contest. Melanie is also a freelance author publicist and publicity/marketing coordinator for both Ragnarok Publications and Mechanical Muse. She blogs regularly for GeekMom and The Once and Future Podcast. Her short story “A Whole-Hearted Halfling” is in the anthology Champions of Aetaltis, available April 12, 2016.