The moon is partly covered in the Earth's shadow during a phase of the lunar eclipse on Feb. 20, 2008 in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty

The blood moon rises

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s the blood moon!

Sky gazers get ready, the first lunar eclipse of 2014 will begin Tuesday morning around 2 am EST and it’s something you don’t want to miss.

There are three types of eclipses: penumbral, partial, and total. All three occur when the sun, moon, and Earth all align and the Earth’s shadow falls across the moon’s surface. This week’s is a total eclipse.  It is the most unique because this is when the Earth’s shadow completely covers the moon giving the moon a reddish glow, or blood moon as some are referring to it, until the eclipse unfolds.

This spectacularly beautiful astronomical event is the first of four consecutive lunar eclipses occurring at approximately six-month intervals and are visible anywhere in the United States. “Weather permitting anybody in North America, Central America, South America will be able to see this.” Alan Macrobert Senior Editor of Sky and Telescope magazine said on Monday’s Today Show. “If you are on your phone to the far end of Argentina you can be seeing  and describing to each other same thing that’s happening at the same moment.

“During the 21st century, there are 8 sets of tetrads, so I would describe tetrads as a frequent occurrence in the current pattern of lunar eclipses,” NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak said in a NASA article A Tetrad of Lunar Eclipses. “But this has not always been the case. During the three hundred year interval from 1600 to 1900, for instance, there were no tetrads at all.”

So grab some caffeine, warm clothes, a chair, and an unobstructed view and get ready to enjoy mother nature’s handywork. 


The blood moon rises