Creeping into the shadow, ‘Blood moon’ total lunar eclipse

"Blood moon," St. George, Utah, April 15, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Delivering stargazers an eerie prelude to the upcoming day of All Hallows’ Eve, the second “blood moon” total lunar eclipse of 2014 will creep through the sky on the early morning hours of Oct. 8 — just hours after midnight.

After ascending from the eastern horizon, the “blood moon” will pass through the seven phases of a total lunar eclipse which — weather conditions permitting — are expected to be viewed best from regions near the Pacific Ocean, according to NASA’s website.

Wednesday’s lunar eclipse follows the same phenomena that occurred April 15 and marks the second of a series of four lunar eclipses that occur in a row — known in astronomical terms as a “tetrad.”

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon moves into the Earth’s shadow causing the moon’s usual pale face to darken and emit an amber glow. During which, Earth hovers directly in between the sun and moon. Though, it is not until the moon lies in the darkest of Earth’s shadow that it glows blood red.

While the moon itself produces no light and is merely the beneficiary of our sun’s rays, it is actually Earth’s atmosphere refracting sunlight to blame for the morphing color of the moon during a lunar eclipse. Depending on certain factors such as Earth’s volcanic activity or humidity, the intensity and shade of the moon can alter from a rosy hue to a dark crimson.

The only way to identify the exact color of Wednesday’s “blood moon” is to set your alarm and step outside. Though, you may want to bring a pillow along in case you begin to howl.

Viewing schedule

The time sequence for mountain standard time goes as follows:

  • The penumbral phase begins at 2:16 a.m.
  • The total eclipse, where the moon will illuminate the most saturated red hue, will occur from 4:25-5:24 a.m.
  • The final phase of the eclipse will end at 7:34 a.m.

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Email: astoddard@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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4 Comments

  • sagemoon October 6, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Aspen, love your final comment. Gotta love reporters with a sense of humor.

  • Bobber October 7, 2014 at 1:07 am

    That is gonna be so creepy it’ll be awesome. Best to be careful if your out during a blood moon though. I won’t go into details…

  • Missy October 7, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Love it, Aspen! I am now informed. 🙂

  • Koolaid October 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Blood Moon. Sounds like a menstrual cycle.

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