Outdoors

Total lunar eclipse will take place early on April 4

South Sound astronomers of all experience levels will have the chance to observe a total lunar eclipse early April 4, if the clouds do not block the view.

The partial eclipse will begin at 3:16 a.m., with the total eclipse beginning at 4:58 a.m. It will reach the point of greatest eclipse at 5 a.m. and the total eclipse will end at 5:03 a.m. The final phase of the partial eclipse will end at 6:45 a.m.

People planning to get out and watch should note the moon will set at 6:52 a.m., just after the end of the partial eclipse.

This will be the shortest total eclipse of the moon in the 21st century, less than 5 minutes. In comparison, the total lunar eclipse visible in the United States on Oct. 8, 2014, lasted almost 59 minutes.

The moon will be low in the western sky when the eclipse takes place. Observers should find an unobstructed western view so they can see the total eclipse.

Because the moon will pass completely through the Earth’s dark shadow, or umbra, it will gradually get darker and then take on a rusty or blood red color, according to astronomers at earthsky.org.

This will be the third in a series of four blood moons. The final blood moon in the lunar tetrad will be Sept. 28. The first two in the series took place April 15 and Oct. 8, 2014. The next tetrad will not begin until April 25, 2032.

If the night skies cooperate, viewers will see the bright star Spica near the moon that morning.

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