SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ – The first total lunar eclipse in nearly two and half years will appear over the skies of Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the early morning hours on Tuesday, April 15. 

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes in Earth's shadow.  The April 15 eclipse will be a particularly unusual viewing opportunity because the Earth's Western Hemisphere will be facing the moon at nighttime.  People in North America won't be able to view a full lunar eclipse again until 2019.

The eclipse will peak at 3:45 a.m. when the moon will enter Earth's full shadow, called 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 hue over it.

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To see a computer-generated sequence – including timeline – of the lunar eclipse, click here.

1:59 a.m.          Partial eclipse begins – moon starts to get red

3:08 a.m.          Total eclipse begins – complete red moon

3:46 a.m.          Maximum eclipse – moon is closest to the center of the shadow

4:23 a.m.          Total eclipse ends – moon still red

5:32 a.m.          Partial eclipse ends

Visit: to learn more about lunar eclipses.