Feeds

Skygazers prepare for 'blood Moon' caused by Earth eclipse

Planetary shadow could cripple LADEE lunar probe

Build a business case: developing custom apps

North American night owls will be in prime position to catch their best view of a lunar eclipse at around 1am EDT Tuesday as our natural satellite is overshadowed by Earth.

The Earth's shadow will start to cover the Moon's surface at 12:54am EDT and the cover the lunar surface completely between 3:07am and 4:25am, causing a phenomenon known as a blood Moon, in which light refracted through the Earth's atmosphere will make the object appear red or brown. The best views will be in the Americas and New Zealand.

"The eclipse is a phenomenon that occurs when the Earth, moon and sun are in perfect alignment, blanketing the moon in the Earth's shadow", NASA Goddard said in a statement. "The United States will not be able to witness a full lunar eclipse in its entirety again until 2019."

If you're not blessed with clear skies, not to worry – NASA will be live streaming the eclipse as it happens and astronomers will be conducting a live web chat to discuss the phenomenon in depth.

If you do miss the eclipse, there will be more to come, however. Tonight's celestial show is the first of a sequence of four blood moons, known as a tetrad, spread over the next 18 months. The next eclipse is due on October 8, followed by two more next year on April 4 and September 28.

Despite being a well-understood phenomenon these days, the blood moon has been a staple of mankind's mythology for millennia, and even now excites primal emotions of doom in some. But for one man-made object the eclipse could well spell doom.

NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) probe is currently skimming through the Moon's tenuous atmosphere checking for dust samples. The eclipse will chill down the probe to the limits of its engineering tolerances and it may not restart once light – and heat – return.

NASA has prepared for this eventuality, however. The probe, having completed its primary mission, has already been set to crash onto the lunar surface later this month, and so no crucial science will be lost. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.