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04/11/2014 – Ephemeris – Get ready for Tuesday’s total lunar eclipse

April 11, 2014

Ephemeris for Friday, April 11th.  The sun will rise at 7:05.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 8:22.   The Moon, half way from first quarter to full, will set at 5:36 tomorrow morning.

Next Tuesday morning’s total eclipse of the moon is the first we’ve seen for several years.  The partial phase begins as the Moon enters the earth’s inner shadow at 1:58 a.m.  Totality starts at 3:06 a.m. The entire Moon should be a red or orange color.  The depth of color will slowly change during totality until 4:24, when totality ends and the upper left edge of the moon again peeks into sunlight.  The ending partial eclipse will end at 5:33 a.m.  If it’s clear or at least partly cloudy there are two locations in the Grand Traverse area to view the eclipse, other than your own back yard, which is perfectly acceptable. The first is the NMC Rogers Observatory, and the other is the Dune Climb parking lot at Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.


Lunar Eclipse progression

Something like what Tuesday’s eclipse will look like from the eastern US. Total lunar eclipse in Egypt. Photo credit: Sean Bagshaw from sservi.nasa.gov.

In a composite photo like this the Earth’s rotation is carrying the moon westward (right) toward setting, while the Moon’s orbital motion is carrying it toward the east (left) more slowly through the Earth’s shadow.  This appears to be a real composite.  Morning twilight would approach from the opposite side of the sky.

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