During the early hours of Wednesday, October 8th, North American residents will experience the second of the four total lunar eclipses that are scheduled to occur before the end of 2015. The 'tetrad' lunar eclipses are a rare phenomenon - one that has been encountered only a handful of times during this century. NASA experts say that thanks to the time of occurrence, the stunning sight of the bright full moon turning a lovely shade of celestial red, will be visible in even the most light-polluted cities.
For East Coast residents, the totality begins just before daybreak at 6.25 am EDT, when the moon is hanging low on the horizon. For those living on the West Coast, the spectacle will be even better because the moon will be completely obscured between 3.25 am and 4.24 EDT, when it is still high up in the skies. The residents of New Zealand, Australia and eastern Asia will also be able to experience the total eclipse after sunset on October 8th, while those living in South America, will observe a partial one, before sunrise on the same day.
Lunar or eclipse of the moon as it is often called, occurs when earth gets in the way of the sun and the moon. As you probably know, the moon does not emit its own light - it simply reflects the light from the sun. Therefore, when our planet gets in the middle of the two, its shadow falls on the moon, resulting in what we call, lunar eclipse.
Total eclipses of the moon are relatively rare because in order for them to occur, there has to be a full moon and, the sun, earth and moon all have to be aligned perfectly. That is why this string of four successive total lunar eclipses (without intervening partial eclipses) at six month intervals, is generating so much excitement. Some believe that the consecutive 'Blood Moons' as they are sometimes referred to, have divine significance, an idea that was first suggested by Pastor John Hagee in his 2013 book, "Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change".
However, to scientists it is just a lunar eclipse of Northern Hemisphere's Hunter's moon - the name given to the full moon in October because of the shorter than usual intervals between moonrises, which provides hunters with ample light to spot prey. Their recommendation? Enjoy this year's second and final total lunar eclipse, which they promise will be spectacular because it falls two days after perigee. This means that the moon will appear 5% larger than it did during the April 15th eclipse. The best part is that unlike the solar eclipse, this one can be viewed without using any special equipment.
Resources: cbn.com, cnn.com. nasa.gove.space.com