GREEN BROOK, NJ – The first total lunar eclipse in nearly two and half years will appear over the skies of North Plainfield and Green Brook in the early morning hours on April 15. As we scramble sleeplessly at two a.m. to find that last receipt and figure out if it really is a valid deduction, the moon will slowly disappear in what centuries ago would be considered a message from the heavens.
This eclipse will be a particularly unusual viewing opportunity for Central NJ. Since Earth's Western Hemisphere will be facing the moon during the eclipse. In addition, the eclipse will coincide with nighttime in North America. \
The eclipse will peak around 3:45 a.m. as the moon enters Earth's full shadow, the umbra. At this stage, Earth's atmosphere will scatter the sun's red visible light, the same process that turns the sky red at sunset. As a result, the red light will reflect off the moon's surface, casting a reddish rust hue throughout.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the Earth's shadow. As the eclipse begins, the Earth's shadow first darkens the moon slightly. Then, the shadow begins to "cover" part of the moon, turning it a dark red-brown color. The moon appears to be reddish due to the refraction of light through the Earth's atmosphere.
Don’t worry if you’re too busy with your taxes – or sleeping -- to take a look outside, though. According to NASA, this eclipse is one of a series of four that will be visible in the Americas over an 18 month period starting Tuesday. Each will be visible during the dark hours of late night or early morning.
The dates of subsequent lunar eclipses are: October 8, 2014 beginning at 10:55 p.m.; April 4, 2015 beginning at 12:01 a.m.; and September 28, 2014 beginning at 2:48 a.m. Each of these eclipses will last approximately three and a half hours.
The Central NJ area will then take a four year break from total lunar eclipses until January 21, 2019 beginning at 5:13 a.m.