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Blood Moon Rising: How to Watch Tonight's Total Lunar Eclipse

When is the best time to watch the "blood moon" in Los Angeles County? Read on.

April's blood moon eclipse will show itself on April 15, 2014. Photo Credit: jurvetson, via flickr creative commons
April's blood moon eclipse will show itself on April 15, 2014. Photo Credit: jurvetson, via flickr creative commons

Originally posted at 1:07 p.m. April 14, 2014. Edited to add video.

By Jaimie Cura 

The lunar eclipse on April 15 is being referred to as a blood moon eclipse and if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering why.

The most obvious answer seems to be: “Because it looks red.” According to EarthSky, a full moon almost always takes on a copper hue during a total lunar eclipse, due to light dispersion from the Earth’s sunrises and sunsets.

“Thus the term blood moon can be and probably is applied to any and all total lunar eclipses,” EarthSky reports.

But with the publication of a 2013 book by John Hagee titled “Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change,” the term has taken on a religious component.

“From what we’ve been able to gather, two Christian pastors, Mark Blitz and John Hagee, use the term Blood Moon to apply to the full moons of the upcoming tetrad – four successive total lunar eclipses, with no partial lunar eclipses in between, each of which is separated from the other by six lunar months (six full moons) – in 2014 and 2015,” Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd write in this EarthSky article on the blood moon eclipse.

Definition recap: A lunar tetrad is a series of four consecutive total lunar eclipses that take place in six month intervals, approximately. That means that over the next two years, we’ll see four lunar eclipses.

Add to that a bit of biblical prophecy the lunar tetrad is thought to fulfill, something Hagee writes about in his book, and that’s why the folks at EarthSky think the term “blood moon” is gaining in popularity.

When to Watch

Night owls, rejoice: in Los Angeles County, the lunar eclipse will begin around 9:56 p.m. tonight and will end at 3:36 a.m. on Tuesday. But the best viewing starts at 10:58 p.m., according to the Los Angeles Times.

Starting at 7 tonight, the Griffith Park Observatory is offering a free public viewing onsite (free parking with shuttle is available at the Greek Theatre). And if you're not feeling up to the drive, you can also watch online at this link.

Bonus Celestial Stuff

Mars will make an appearance near the eclipsed moon. Red planet, red moon — I’m seeing a theme here…

Don’t forget to mark your calendars! Here’s the approximate dates for the rest of the lunar eclipses in the tetrad:

  • Oct. 8, 2014
  • April 4, 2015
  • Sept. 28, 2015
Happy moon-gazing to all! If you take pictures of the lunar eclipse, we'd love to see them! Feel free to post in our Town Square, under the "Conversations" tab above.
Fortified- I am Buzzlightyear >>>>>>>> April 14, 2014 at 06:14 PM
Here is a visual of the phases of this eclipse. .....hmmm....I might have to do a midnight run up Griffith park ( http://earthsky.org/todays-image/times-in-edt-for-tuesday-mornings-total-eclipse-of-moon ))
Don April 15, 2014 at 01:26 PM
It was sweet watching the eclipse come into play with the whisping high clouds crossing over the white reflective moon. Then the orange/red hue kicked in and it was awesome. Well until the high clouds came back and obscured, not blocked out obscured a good portion of it. 1:00 am said, "hey there's work in the morning. : Its highly recommended you see it at least once.

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