SUMMIT, NJ – The first total lunar eclipse in nearly two and half years will appear over the skies of Summit in the early morning hours on April 15.

This eclipse will be a particularly unusual viewing opportunity, since the Earth's Western Hemisphere will be facing the moon during the eclipse.  In addition, the eclipse will coincide with nighttime in North America.  The entire continent won't be able to witness a full lunar eclipse in its entirety again until 2019.

The eclipse will peak around 3:45 a.m., and the moon will enter 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 over it.

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April 15, 2014 Lunar Eclipse Sequence of Events

Time  / Event

1:59 a.m.  - Partial eclipse begins – moon is getting 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 – moon close to the horizon

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes within 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.